JOE JOYCE has warned heavyweight rivals Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury that only a world title will make up for his 2016 Olympic robbery.
The Juggernaut, 35, should have been launched into a mega-money pro career, like Audley Harrison and AJ enjoyed, after the Rio games but he got stuck with a controversial silver.
Saturday night’s emphatic win over new golden boy Daniel Dubois secured the 6ft 6in giant with the iron chin the British, Commonwealth and European titles and a jump up the rankings.
But the 12-0 KO artist with the penchant for painting and a fine art degree, insists he will not be satisfied until he has one of the four major belts currently shared by his fellow Brits and former sparring partners.
“There’s only a small circle of elite heavyweight fighters and I believe I’m in that circle or I’m on the outside edging in and if I win a world title next year I’m on my way in,” the modest man mountain said.
“There’s some great fights and I can’t wait to be mixing it with the best.
“This win makes up for the Olympics a little bit but the crown on the top will be a world title and to go down in history as a heavyweight champion. Then I can go on from there.
“Definitely winning the world title does the job for me and securing my family’s future financially as well.”
Joyce’s family were at Church House, in Westminster at the weekend, bellowing instructions and celebrating the round-ten stoppage.
But he admits Team JJ, especially mum Marvel, would prefer their hero stops using his freakishly strong chin as his first line of defence.
But, because the former athlete didn’t start boxing until 22, he knows he might have to rely on his wonder-whiskers a little longer.
“I don’t feel much different than when I was 26,” he said. “It’s just one of them things you have to be smarter if you’re training.
“If you’ve been training for so many years it is quite hard to stay motivated to keep doing the same thing but I love the sport and I’m constantly improving myself.
“I have my own style and I’ve been blessed with a good chin. I try not to rely on it. I want to improve my sweet science of boxing.
“I keep on aiming to improve my technique but it is hard as I started so late and I had ground to make up in the skills department. I do my best.”
Oleksandr Usyk beat Joyce in the amateurs and is now mandatory challenger for AJ’s WBO title.
The former undisputed cruiserweight king has refused to sit out and let AJ and Fury do a 2021 double-header for the undisputed crown.
So Joyce can target a rematch with the Ukraine southpaw, if Joshua vacates the title to battle the Gypsy King.
“A Usyk rematch would be amazing for the world title,” the Putney man said.
“We are both better fighters now, I’ve got better preparation now, I’ve had more rounds. I can land more shots, tire him out and take him out.
“He’s quite a small heavyweight, but I rate him, he’s got skill. It’s hard to hit him, but with my team I reckon I could take him because I’m a more experienced fighter.
“He’s put on some muscle, so he’s a little bit slower. I rate him because he’s got the brains and he’s got good footwork and head movement.
“It would be a difficult fight, but one I want and one I could win.”
The Dubois battle was postponed three times since April and some unnecessary needle was manufactured, leading to the 23-year-old insulting Joyce’s mum.
But Joyce was magnanimous in victory and urged his rival to bounce back from the broken orbital bone and nerve damage his ramrod jab inflicted.
He said: “It takes a lot to be a boxer and get in the ring. He was one of my GB team-mates. I forgive him for what he said.
“Maybe it was in the heat of the moment or he might have been told to say it, it was a bit disrespectful.
“But I have respect for him and he can come again because he’s young.”