British heavyweight Joe Joyce says he wants to be world champion next year

By Kal SajadBBC Sport
Joe Joyce
Joe Joyce has won all 13 fights as a professional, with 12 stoppages

Joe Joyce has said he is targeting a world title next year as he prepares to face Christian Hammer at Wembley Arena on Saturday.

The 36-year-old Briton returns to action after almost a year out against the Germany-based Romanian Hammer.

Joyce has won all 13 fights as a professional and is ranked number one with the WBO and second with the WBC.

"I want to be the heavyweight champion in 2023. That will be my year," he told the 5 Live Boxing Podcast.

"I want to stay busy and relevant and keep sharp because when I get my opportunity I want to snatch it and take whatever belts available," he added.

The belts are currently shared between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury - WBA, WBO and IBF champion Usyk faces Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on 20 August, while WBC champion Fury has suggested he will retire from the sport but is yet to relinquish his belt.

Joyce said he was in "prime position" to fight for a world title, adding: "I have one or two fights while I wait for Joshua-Usyk. Is Fury going to come back and face the winner?

"I'm ranked highly. I can just get my shot when the title becomes available or I can keep fighting these fringe heavyweights."

Joyce predicts sixth-round stoppage

Joe Joyce faces off with Christian Hammer
Joyce has spent just shy of a year out of the ring

In November 2020, Joyce upset the odds by beating Daniel Dubois in an all-British heavyweight clash after Dubois sustained a nasty eye injury and was stopped in the 10th round.

But Joyce has only fought once since, that outing an impressive sixth-round stoppage win over Carlos Takam last July.

Hammer, 34, has lost nine of his 27 fights, including defeats to world champion Fury. He also lost to Hughie Fury in October 2021, but did beat Briton David Price in 2017.

"He's a strong, durable fighter," Joyce said. "I'm not expecting to get him out early. It will probably be later. I'm going to say round six, maybe."

Meanwhile, Scotland's unified light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor, who was a Team GB team-mate of Joyce in the amateurs, said he was expecting big things from the heavyweight.

"His nickname is perfect, the juggernaut," Taylor, a guest on this week's podcast, said.

"For a big lump of a guy he's an absolute machine. On the running tracks he's keeping up with the small guys, doing laps. He's a machine of a guy.

"He doesn't understand tiredness. He's the juggernaut. He keeps going. He's a train."

'Joyce-Parker is dead' - Warren

Joseph Parker
Joyce is now unlikely to face former world champion Joseph Parker (right) after the New Zealander signed with Boxxer

Joyce - signed to Frank Warren's Queensbury Promotions - was scheduled to fight New Zealand's former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker this summer, with the fight all-but signed.

Parker, however, penned a deal with Ben Shalom's Boxxer promotion and his fights will now be shown on Sky Sports, with Joyce's fights shown on rival broadcaster BT Sport.

Shalom said Parker-Joyce could still happen. "We put in a big offer. That's a fight he [Parker] wants," the promoter told Sky Sports.

The offer is rumoured to be £1.2m, but Warren has dismissed any chance of the fight happening.

"You're flogging a dead horse. Parker is not happening. End of story. He walked away and signed with Sky TV," Warren said at a media conference this week.

He added: "If he wanted that fight and still does, it's there for him but it ain't going on any other channel. Let them get on with it."

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