Joe Joyce has put the heavyweight division on notice by warning that he still has “more gears to go through” as he eyes a shot at IBO, WBO, IBF and WBA world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Joyce’s 11th-round knockout victory over Joseph Parker on Saturday saw him elevated to interim WBO champion, with a left hook doing the final damage following a ferocious fight at Manchester’s AO Arena and improving his record in the pro ranks to 15-0.
The Juggernaut could now press for a mandatory shot at Usyk’s WBO belt in which the other titles could also be on the line.
However, the machinations of the boxing world mean that there could be a way to go before the Londoner gets his shot at the Cat, who is still being linked with a gargantuan unification bout against WBC champion Tyson Fury (Bout Winner – Fury 4/9, Usyk 7/4, Draw 16/1).
Joyce and Usyk have met before, with the former losing out on points when the pair clashed in the World Series of Boxing as amateurs in 2013.
The Ukrainian won on points but his perspective opponent believes it would be a different story if he was granted a rematch.
Either way, Joyce believes he is destined to become a world champion and is confident that his scope for improvement means he would have no issues defending a belt.
“If Usyk doesn’t want to fight me then he has to vacate the belt and then I get elevated to full champion. From there, I can defend the belt,” Joyce told Sky Sports News.
“I think I would start to get to him. If I can keep the pressure up. He is a very skilful fighter, but at this level it’s all going to be tough from here on in.”
He added: “I’ve always wanted to be in this position and now I’m here. I still don’t feel like I’m quite there where I want to be. I think I’ve still got a few more levels and more gears to go through.”