Frazer Clarke reckons Joyce is No. 3 heavyweight in the world going into Zhang clash

Former Olympic star Frazer Clarke has heralded Joe Joyce as the third best heavyweight in the world ahead of his clash with Chinese giant Zhilei Zhang on Saturday.

Clarke, the 31-year-old who won bronze at the 2020 Olympics, rates Joyce behind Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

Joyce won silver at the 2016 Olympics, continuing the UK’s run of medals among the big men following the likes of Audley Harrison, David Price and Anthony Joshua, and Joyce might be in the frame to fight Fury later in the year if he overcomes Zhang this weekend.

“Right now, I'd put Joe Joyce behind Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk as the third-best heavyweight in the world,” Clarke wrote, in his BBC Sport column.

“The Juggernaut is like an oak tree with arms that don’t stop punching. As a heavyweight you need a good jab, fitness, a solid chin and a nice right hand to finish it off. Joe has all of those attributes. He is massively underrated but he’s the man in the division. He doesn’t go shouting his mouth off, and then delivers in the ring.”

Clarke warned that Zhang would not be “a walkover” and admitted the visitor was dangerous and heavy-handed if flat-footed.

In his praise of Joyce, Clarke said Joe’s victory over Joseph Parker was one of the best heavyweight contests he had seen in recent times and that the fact Joyce hits hard and often is a “recipe for destruction.”

Clarke is now 6-0 (5) having stopped 20-5 Romanian Bogdan Dinu in two rounds in March.

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