Joe Joyce calls on the heavyweight division to 'man up'

British heavyweight Joe Joyce has not hidden his opinion on the state of the heavyweight division currently as it stands.

Joyce faces former foe Zhilei Zhang on September 23rd in London and is looking to overturn the sole loss on his record following his shock sixth-round defeat to the Chinese heavyweight in April of this year.

Joe feels the division has to “Man up” and start fighting each other. The respective world titles have not been contested this year; however, Oleksandr Usyk will defend his unified world titles on August 26th against Daniel Dubois in Poland.

Tyson Fury, following his failed attempts to secure a fight with Usyk to contest the undisputed heavyweight title failed, is instead facing Francis Ngannou in a non-title fight in October in Saudi Arabia. Anthony Joshua-Deontay Wilder is all but confirmed to take place in December if Joshua successfully defeats Dillian Whyte next month at the 02 Arena, London.

“Where’s these fights? The next big fight is my fight,” said Joyce during an interview with Ariel Helwani for BT Sport.

“Back in the 80s and 90s, the champs were fighting multiple times a year.

“They need to man up and take on these fights.”

Joyce, if successful in defeating Zhang, will recapture his mandatory position within the WBO rankings and will be mandatory to face Usyk or Dubois, depending on the victor of their August encounter.

Joyce, who has faced both fighters previously ( Usyk as a senior amateur), has not ruled out Dubois causing Usyk problems if he can land on the Ukranian champion.

“Dubois hits hard, so if he can hit Usyk, then he’s got a shot. If he can’t, he’s not because Usyk throws too many punches, the head movement’s amazing, footwork, and experience. If he can land a shot heavy shot on him, Usyk’s in trouble. Dubois hits very hard.”

Returning back to Joyce and his defeat to Zhang, it could have been easy to forgive him if the “Juggernaut” wanted an easier return to action instead of jumping straight back in with Zhang. However, Joyce wanted to set an example to the division in that he was not afraid to fight fellow top contenders but was also willing to take the risk to do so in the first place.

“I am actually fighting,” he said, taking aim at those in the division who have not been.

“I’m taking risks, and I’m fighting these guys. I’m actually fighting people, unlike some of the heavyweights.”

“I don’t regret taking the fight,” he added. “It’s part of the journey of my career. It’s like a challenge and an obstacle that has stopped me in my tracks. I’m gonna have to rebuild, and I’m gonna come out stronger and hopefully get those opportunities back.”