Joe Joyce was frustrated to see Daniel Dubois get the heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk.
Joyce and Dubois fought back in Nov. 2020 when it was Joyce who pulled off a bit of an upset as he scored a 10th-round TKO win. Since then, Joyce won three more fights, including beating Joseph Parker to win the interim WBO heavyweight title.
However, last time out, he lost by sixth-round TKO to Zhilei Zhang to lose his belt, and he triggered an immediate rematch. Dubois, meanwhile, won four straight fights after the setback and earned a heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk.
When Dubois got the title fight against Usyk, Joyce says that was frustrating for him as he feels like that should have been him.
“It was frustrating that it was the guy I beat convincingly that got the shot before me,” Joyce told BoxingScene.com. “And it bothers me that I was once the WBA gold [champion] and paid the sanctioning fees, and then I was completely out of that [mix]. That’s a route I could’ve taken, but I did the WBO route and I’m in that position again. But to have to lose to Zhang, when I was so close and I could’ve just waited and took a different shot, it was quite a hard time and lesson to learn.”
Dubois ended up losing by TKO in the ninth round, while Joyce is set to rematch Zhang on Saturday, Sept. 23. It’s a massive fight, and Joyce knows if he wins, he’s right back in the mix to get a title fight.
“I don’t really have time to piece my way back another way, so I have to,” Joyce said. “Because I could’ve had a fight in the meantime. Someone could’ve fought Zhang instead or Zhang could’ve had that opportunity at the WBO [title]. But this is why I enacted the immediate rematch [clause], so I can get back in position.”
Do you think Joe Joyce will beat Zhilei Zhang in the rematch?