Heavyweight prospect Joe ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce 9-0 (9) kept his perfect record intact with a third round TKO of Belarus-based Russian veteran Alexander Ustinov 34-4 (25) at Lamex Stadium in Stevenage, UK on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old Joyce, who split from trainer Abel Sanchez to join Adam Booth’s stable in April, is aiming for a world title shot against unified champion and former sparring partner Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) before the end of the year.
“I would like a world title by the end of the year and to set myself up for some really big fights in 2020,” Joyce told BT Sport immediately after his win.
“It’s a 50-50 fight between me and Joshua and it’s going to happen sooner or later. I’ve taken a lot of confidence from our spars. We’re talking in the hundreds of rounds that we did on GB, maybe more.
“I’ve learned more since then and I’m sure he has as well so it would be a great fight at some stage.
“I’ve probably done more rounds with him than anyone in the world other than Frazer Clarke. It would be hard for him to come up with any surprises, I know his strengths and weaknesses.
“I know what I’d have to do – I know how to beat him. It’s something I’ve thought about a lot. I think it’s always there in the back of my mind.
“It was always quite competitive between us on the GB set up. He qualified first and got on the squad first so I felt like I was always playing catch up with him then and I am now again we are pros.”
Joyce applied relentless pressure to Ustinov, winning the first two rounds behind a busy jab with left hooks and right crosses mixed in.
The third round saw Ustinov unable to keep Joyce off him as the local fighter continued to land clubbing blows that kept the visitor on the back foot.
A left hook from Joyce finally dropped Ustinov, who was counted out at 1:55 by referee Victor Loughlin.
“He’s a seasoned veteran, he’s very tough,” said Joyce. “I was trying to incorporate what Adam Booth was telling me in the corner. I came in warm and ready, and it’s great to put on a good performance.”
Ustinov has now lost three in a row after dropping a points decision to Manuel Charr in November 2017 and being stopped in nine frames by Michael Hunter a year later. His only other loss was an 11th round stoppage to world-rated Kubrat Pulev in September 2012.
Next up for Joyce is an undercard fight at the O2 Arena in London on July 13 against an opponent to be named. The headline fight will feature domestic rivals Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman clashing for the British heavyweight title.