In the first part of our exclusive interview, former WBC Cruiserweight Champion Tony Bellew, reckons on Joe Joyce having too much for Joseph Parker in Manchester this weekend.
Tomorrow’s fight is for the interim WBO title, so the winner will get a title shot guaranteed. From what you’ve seen of Joe Joyce – do you think he has got what it takes to be the future heavyweight champion?
Tony: “As long as that durability lasts, he’ll be a champion of some note. Without a doubt, Joyce’s greatest asset is his durability. He’s the human Terminator. In the heavyweight division, I haven’t seen a fighter absorb what he absorbs since Oliver McCall. I just haven’t seen it.
“It’s phenomenal what he can absorb but I don’t know when that bubble’s going to burst. I don’t know who will burst it but once it does burst, he will never be the same again. As long as he’s going right now, he will outlast almost every heavyweight because he will just still be there when you are throwing everything at him, and you will exhaust yourself… It’s inevitable. That’s what he is. He’s inevitable. I don’t care who he faces. Yes, he’s robotic. Yes, he’s slow on the movements sometimes, but he has durability that no other heavyweight in the world has and that makes him a problem alone.
“I believe that he’ll be in a close hard fight with Joseph Parker for about five or six rounds, and then I think Joseph Parker will go. He won’t be able to fight back after that.
“Joyce isn’t the biggest puncher and not the quickest puncher; he’s fairly easy to evade, but you’ve got to be hitting him, and to be hitting him, you’ve got to be in range because he’s a big guy. He’s a big lump. So to be in range and to be hitting him, he’s going to hit back, and hit back hard. I just feel his fitness and his durability are his greatest assets and he’ll outlast heavyweight. He’s an absolute machine and Parker is so far off that.”
Joesph Parker has fought some pretty big names. He’s fought Joshua. He’s fought Chisora.
He’s spoken about the greater motivation from being a family man, and how he feels for this fight and the training camp as well because he feels like he’s got more of a purpose now. He’s got more of a direction. Can you relate to that?
Tony: “You can never have more direction than chasing to become a world champion. He’s been a world champion, and I’ve been where he’s been. Once you’ve achieved your lifelong goal in boxing, after becoming a world champion, following that, it’s purely about financial gain.
“I think we’ve been quite clear that every fight Joseph Parker has taken since becoming world champion has been to financially benefit himself, which he’s well entitled to do and which he should do and deserves to do. For him, it’s not about legacy. It’s just purely about who’s paying the most. And is this scenario, as in tomorrow’s fight, it’s obvious that the fight is the biggest paying fight by far, simply because Joyce is paying, and that’s why he’s facing him; there’s no way he’d take on Joyce unless the money was so good that he couldn’t say no.
“Because in all honesty, is Parker really going to defeat Joyce…most likely not!
“Should he, for some magical reason beat Joyce, I mean, it’d close him in on the world title fight, but let’s be totally honest. Is he really bothered about the titles? No, because he’s been a world champion. He’s bothered about what generates the most money. That’s why he was on standby for Tyson Fury if Dillian Whyte didn’t follow through with the plan. We are originally prize fighters and the prize is cash.
“You have to understand when you’ve been a world champion, you’ve fulfilled your lifelong goal. My lifelong dream and goal was to become a WBC world champion. It’s fulfilled. After that, what are you chasing? Are you fighting because you like to fight? Because that’s what Derek Chisora does. He loves just to fight. For myself, financial gains. Purely, that’s what it was about. My body could take no more. That’s how it works out.
“Joyce and Parker are both really nice lads and I wish them a safe and speedy fight. I think it’ll be really good to watch for about four or five rounds. Then I think Joe will start trying to take it up a notch and force that positioning of the fight and where he’s going with the fight on Joseph Parker.
“The positioning of the feet will be a massive factor in that fight. If Joyce takes centre ring from five onwards, it’s going to be a long night for Joseph Parker. He has to do as much damage as he possibly can in the first half of the fight and then look to boxing move for the second half because I don’t think anyone’s stopping Joe Joyce at the minute. I mean, I think the only person capable of stopping Joe Joyce in World Boxing at the moment is probably Deontay Wilder because of his massive punch. But that is it!
“But I think it’ll be a decent fight to watch. I think Joseph Parker will go in with the mentality of I’m going to box and score my shot at early doors, and at some point, he’s going to nail Joyce really, really hard but Joyce’s reaction when he gets punched is just let’s carry on fighting, and that is mind-boggling, especially in the heavyweight division because you hit a heavyweight clean, and he’s still fighting. It just takes your soul. It’s not nice. That’s what is likely to happen in this fight.
“To be brutally honest. Daniel Dubois is a bigger puncher than Joseph Parker. Dubois can really punch. The fact is he spewed it when he was in the ring with Joyce. He couldn’t take anymore, and they weren’t even the hardest punches in the world nor were they the most damaging punches, but yet, he drained the life out of him. Meanwhile, Joyce had been hit clean multiple times but he just kept on going and going and that’s when Dubois went down, he couldn’t take it. The pressure got to him, and he had enough. I think you could be looking at something similar in his fight.
“I will however say that Joseph Parker is a much better boxer than Daniel Dubois. He’s a lot more fluid. He’s shown massive improvements under Andy Lee. So if Joseph Parker can box and hold a good pace for 12 rounds, there’s a 30% chance in this fight that he’ll just outbox Joe Joyce. I say that with a 70% chance the other way of Joe Joyce is just going to get him; and get him hard.
“Joseph Parker is durable though but I can see in round six or seven that Parker gives up as he knows he’s not going to win and will go on safety.
“So I go 70/30 percentage rate that Joyce will get Parker.”