JUGGERNAUT STALLED BUT WILL SOON BE BACK ON TRACK
By Frank Warren
SO THE JUGGERNAUT was finally knocked off course following a head-on collision with a man fittingly known as Big Bang on Saturday but, with a few running repairs, the wheels can soon be set in motion again.
First and foremost, it was a cracking fight at the Copper Box and, from my vantage point, the atmosphere and support of Joe Joyce was something else. Big Joe certainly knows how to pull in a crowd these days and I feel sure that, other than the eventual outcome, they will have enjoyed what they saw.
I must also give big credit to Zhilei Zhang, who got his tactics spot-on and executed them to perfection. On the evidence of Saturday night, he can now be quite a force in the heavyweight division.
As far as Joe is concerned, he got it wrong and suffered a bad night at the office. It happens and it doesn’t diminish Joe’s standing in the sport. Sometimes you just pick the wrong fella at the wrong time.
Without sounding like a terrible after-timer, I do think Joe and his team will have to consider why it was thought to be a good idea to reduce his size – and ultimately, power – heading into a fight against a fellow giant of a man. I thought Joe had found an optimum level against Joseph Parker and he probably should have stuck to it.
I understand that he likely wanted to make himself a more nimble operator and he lighter on his feet against a largely static puncher, but Joe tends to always get drawn into a trade-up eventually anyway.
This is something he will have to ponder when it comes to making a decision over whether he wants to jump into a rematch against Zhilei, which is a major option for him.
Whatever he decides we will back Joe. When one of our fighters face adversity it brings us all closer together and we find a way to bring them back in perhaps a stronger position than before. It was the same with Anthony Yarde and Daniel Dubois, whose careers have not been affected by setbacks.
With the way the much-talked about rotation system with the governing bodies is currently scheduled, time is on Joe’s side to win back his mandatory position before the WBO challenger is ultimately called.
So if that is the road Joe wants to go down, it is something that is available to him. I would imagine he needs a good period of rest and recovery before making a final decision though.
On the night I was delighted to see Denzel Bentley secure a spectacular win to retain his British middleweight title. When we first got to know Denzel, him winning in 40-odd seconds was a familiar trait, so it is good to see the old magic is still there!
Sam Noakes was another to majorly impress with his demolition of an unbeaten opponent to retain his pair of titles at lightweight. He is such an exciting young fighter with a huge future and I cannot wait to see him make his next moves.
I also enjoyed seeing Moses Itauma put through his paces over six rounds following his one-punch finishes in his first two professional fights. The big Croatian Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko was the perfect match and he gave Moses some valuable time on the canvas. Moses also had to deal with some sort of hand injury that hampered him in the second half of the fight and even that is good experience, with having to find a way through to the end without giving too much away.
Hopefully his hand issue is just a niggle and we will see Moses in the ring again soon clocking up the wins.