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Frank Warren exclusive on Joe Joyce, Jason Cunningham & more

Frank Warren


Frank Warren exclusive on Joe Joyce, Jason Cunningham & more

Frank Warren exclusive on Joe Joyce, Jason Cunningham & more

If you have spent any time watching BT Sport recently, you may have caught an outstanding promotional video featuring Joe Joyce being taught the art of trash talk by Countdown’s Susie Dent.

Quietly spoken Joyce is still unlikely to reach into his new bag of insults as this weekend’s heavyweight clash with Christian Hammer draws closer. But there certainly won’t be any niceties at Wembley on Saturday night. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.

I think Joe will get a good workout

Joseph Parker was supposedly keen to lock horns with Joyce in September so Hammer was chosen to give Joyce the chance to shake off a year long lay off and regain some confidence in the wrist he broke late last year. Parker then decided to turn his back on the showdown. Poor Hammer is still in town to play his role and may just feel the full weight of Joyce’s frustration.

Joyce will take on a major name in September and – if he and his team look on the bright side – this weekend’s mission hasn’t been affected. It still gives him the chance to get the juggernaut revved up once again.

“Joe’s still only had 13 professional fights, people forget that,” show promoter Frank Warren told 32Red. “We all know Hammer comes to fight and I think Joe will get a good workout. He’s coming off a broken wrist. So in the back of his mind he might be a bit worried about that so he’ll get to give that a run out too.”

Joyce has been sitting at the top of the WBO ratings for what seems an eternity. The Londoner will eventually get his world title shot – it is a matter of when not if – but predicting the date of his title tilt is almost as difficult as predicting who it will come against.

We all know Hammer comes to fight

Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, even Tyson Fury, none are out of the realms of possibility. Joyce may yet end up fighting for a vacant belt or he might be forced to wait a little longer if the money spinning prospect of a true undisputed fight is dangled before the governing bodies. All options are on the table.

“What I’ve been working on for a long time is the strategy of the heavyweight division and getting Joe and Daniel Dubois down different directions with the WBO and WBA and getting them right up there. We’re in a brilliant position. We’ve got a couple of mandatories due and the champion [Tyson Fury],” Warren said.

“Whoever wins that fight [between Usyk and Joshua] is going to have to fight one of our guys. If it’s a unification then they’re gonna have to fight the number one heavyweight in the world. And if it’s not then they’re gonna have to fight a mandatory challenger. That’s the position we’ve got ourselves in.

“There’s no doubt about it, if there’s a unification fight then that will over rule everything. If there isn’t a unification then – and I’m not sure who’s turn it is – but the WBO or the WBA will organise a fight and the winner of that will have to fight the next one. They’re both gonna get their shot.

Jason’s done it the hard way

“Who knows? The titles may fragment. Whoever has the belts may decide they’re gonna vacate rather than fight one of the guys. They’re in brilliant positions, both of them.”

Dubois recently demolished Trevor Bryant to win the WBA Regular title and make sure he is right there alongside Joyce when the various governing bodies do decide to call their next batch of mandatory defences.

Jason Cunningham

Joyce and Dubois agreeing to fight behind closed doors in the middle of a pandemic seems totally bizarre now and Joyce’s stoppage victory that night has grown in stature. Given the riches on offer in the heavyweight division, it was a real show of confidence and ambition from both.

“It was and it was a killer considering the fight had been postponed twice and we’d sold out the O2. That for me is a major fight. It could happen. It certainly could. We just have to see where we get to,” Warren said.

Tete is a dangerous man

Four years ago, Zolani Tete was a regular visitor to these shores. The South African was one of the most avoided fighters in the lower weight divisions and a true world class operator. Around the same time, Doncaster’s Jason Cunningham was looking for a way back into title contention after suffering back to back defeats. How times change.

This weekend, Tete is the fighter looking to make himself relevant once again; Cunningham is the one promoted by Warren and in the form of his life. Last time out he looked the part defending his European super bantamweight title against Terry Le Courvier and will need to go to an even higher level when he faces Tete on Saturday night.

“Jason boxed extremely well last time. He was very composed and he’s going to have to be composed this weekend against Tete,” said Warren. “We all know what Tete can do. He’s a dangerous man. The thing with Jason is that he’s mature. We know he’s done it the hard way and that looks like a really entertaining fight.

“If Jason does the business I’ll deliver him a bone fide world title shot.

“We’ve got Joyce, and Tete and Cunningham. We’ve got Callum Johnson in a really good fight against Igor Mikhalkin from Germany who’s 24-3. Plus we’ve got Mark Chamberlain in with Marc Vidal – that’ll be be a tough fight for him – and we’ve got a good group of youngsters on too. It’s a good fight card.”

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