FORMER WORLD TITLE challenger Bryant Jennings says the call to fight Joe Joyce in the British heavyweight star’s just 10th fight did not take him by surprise.
The 34-year-old Jennings is a pretty seasoned campaigner in the division, with 27 fights under his belt and the only defeats against his name coming when he took on Wladimir Klitschko, Luis Ortiz and, most recently, the unbeaten Oscar Rivas, who he was leading before getting caught in the final round.
The Philadelphian, however, has not taken it personally being drafted in to test and further the experience of the relatively novice pro Joyce on the blockbuster ‘Heavy Duty’ card at the o2 Arena on July 13.
Jennings points to the Olympic pedigree possessed by the 9-0 man known as Juggernaut.
“No, no, he is a silver medallist and that is how they go,” he considered. “Lomachenko had a world title in his second fight, so when you are a gold, silver or even bronze medallist, that is the type of path they create for you when you turn over into the pros.
“You pretty much come in two fights away from being ranked.
“I expected it from him and even previously there was a lot of noise back and forth on Twitter when he says a lot to other fighters, picking fights. He is doing what he’s supposed to be doing as a fighter.
“So something like this isn’t far-fetched and is something I would have expected to have received, that type of call.”
The articulate American, at the same time, also doesn’t believe he is in a no-win situation against Joyce where, even if he is victorious, people will point to the fact his opponent has only had ten fights.
“No I don’t think they will say that. I think he has displayed enough for it to be considered a notable win. It is the fans who make up boxing, the fans and the fighters, so it you have got a hundred thousand fans screaming Joe Joyce, then he is hot.
“Regardless of what ranking he has, it doesn’t take away from what the fans see in him. So when I win it is definitely a notable win and one that keeps me right where I’m at or moves me up a bit.”
While clearly confident of victory, Jennings does acknowledge he is going in with a genuine heavyweight force in Joyce.
“Yeah I see him as a dangerous opponent. There are a lot of guys that are dangerous and even the ones we don’t look at as such could be even more dangerous. The fighter that is most dangerous is the one where there are no damn tapes!
“That is a dangerous fighter because you don’t know what this guy is gonna bring. I would consider Joyce a dangerous fighter because he is a big guy, a high class Olympian and that is about all the compliments I am going to keep giving him!
“He is a dangerous enough fighter for it to be a great fight and a good win for me.”
Tickets for ‘Heavy Duty’ featuring Daniel Dubois v Nathan Gorman for the vacant British Heavyweight Title, plus Olympic silver medallist Joe Joyce v Bryant Jennings are on sale now. The show also features British Middleweight champion Liam Williams who clashes against France’s former European champion Karim Achour for the vacant WBC Silver middleweight crown. Super-flyweight sensation Sunny Edwards meets Mexican Hiram Gallardo for the vacant IBF super-flyweight title. WBO super-featherweight champion Archie Sharp risks his crown against Jordan McCorry. Returning after an impressive debut is Kent bantamweight Dennis McCann. Hamza Sheeraz, Mark Chamberlain, Jake Pettitt, Louie Lynn, Mickey Burke Jr and Florian Marku add to an exciting line up and tickets are available via AXS.com, Eventim and Ticketmaster and are priced as below:
£300 – (Hospitality)
£200 – Floor
£150 – Floor
£100 – Tier/Floor
£75 – Floor/Tier
£50 – Tier
£40 – Tier