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Joe Joyce will not take Takam for granted, nor assume he will have a title shot anytime soon, writes trainer Steve Broughton
WHAT you see with Joe Joyce on television and read in interviews is exactly how he is in real life. He doesn’t get confused when he’s in the ring with heavyweights trying to knock him out, so he definitely doesn’t get confused by anything happening outside the ring.
Nevertheless, it has not been an easy eight months since he knocked out Daniel Dubois. The story that went into that fight was that the winner would have a shot at the vacant WBO title against Oleksandr Usyk, but then Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua fell through and we’re done with that. We are told that if Joe beats Carlos Takam this weekend, he will line up to take on the Joshua-Usyk winner. But will that really happen? Probably not. We know if Usyk wins it will likely be a rematch with Joshua and if Joshua wins he will be moved to Fury. The situation with the sanctioning authorities is ridiculous. Suddenly, Dubois, who lost to Joyce, is the mandatory at the WBA before Joe has even fought. How does that work?
But Joe is a patient man and he will keep fighting until he gets his shot at the world championship. We don’t want a situation Dillian Whyte is in, but we are realistic about the future.
Joe and I are similar in many ways and that’s why we work so well as a team. We don’t get stressed or over-excited. We understand each other. Apart from the three weeks he spent with former trainer Ismael Salas last year, we have now been working together as a fighter and coach for a year.
I understand Salas as a trainer and some of his methods endure. But I’ve implemented a few different things with Joe over the past 12 months that work well. Salas’ style was typically Cuban; it was based on rhythm, technique and coordination. He’s the type of trainer who would watch a video of a fighter throwing a hook and would find that he didn’t turn his hand correctly.
I’ve spent more time working on Joe’s defense, getting him to knock off shots and work on the inside, which is all too often undervalued. Joe is a good student, always listening and willing to try new things. But he’s not one of those fighters who pick up new techniques right away, they have to be drilled into him over time. From my perspective I see the subtle improvements in his defense that no one else sees, I see him putting together those combinations that we have worked so tirelessly on. It takes time, but Joe gets it.
Takam is the ultimate heavyweight gatekeeper and by that I don’t mean disrespect. He has fought against the top men, but he has lost to the top men. We’ve seen Takam at his best and we’re gearing up for that version of Takam, but even then I don’t see anything that sets him apart from the kind of competition Joe beats all day. That said, we’d be fools to take it lightly. He’s no Joe Frazier, but he bobs and weaves and throws shots as he comes in. We are aware that although he is small, he has long arms – longer than Joe – so we thought about that. He also has a good palate of punches to choose from. He is solid in many areas.
Joe has had excellent sparring against top amateurs like Natty Ngwenya, whose size is very similar to Takam. We also used Alen Babic. He’s been a little different. He’s not technically as good as Takam, but he came ready to go to war. If Takam wants war, we’re ready. If he wants a boxing match, we can do that too.
We know Takam is strong, but we don’t fear his power as much as someone like Dubois, for example. Takam can pop, but he rarely extinguishes the light with one blow. Joyce won’t be complacent, it’s just not in his nature. Not about this battle or about his future.
There is still much work to be done.
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