Joe Joyce stopped Christian Hammer in the fourth round of their fight on Saturday night. After 12 months out of the ring, Joyce returned in style dropping his man four times on route to a technical knockout victory.

However, many were disappointed with the level of opposition Joyce faced given his lofty status in the heavyweight boxing landscape. Hammer has lost five of his last eight contests and over the years has adopted the role of gatekeeper to the upper echelons of the division. The Romanian slugger is currently unranked by any of the major sanctioning bodies and is a considerable step down from Joyce’s last opponent Carlos Takam.

Now with time working against him, the 37 year old, will be hoping that his next opponent can bring a greater challenge come fight night. Here, Express Sport counts down the best fight options that would help elevate the promising British contender.

Joseph Parker

Joyce and Joseph Parker were set to face each other in July but plans were put on hold after Parker signed with BOXXER and Sky Sports. A win over the former WBO heavyweight world champion would raise Joyce’s stock and would likely improve his rating with all four sanctioning bodies, increasing his chances of getting the winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua next.

Joyce’s promoter Frank Warren recently claimed that the fight is ‘dead’, but BOXXER promoter Ben Shalom maintains that the main target for Parker’s first fight under his promotional banner is “The Juggernaut.”

The winner of the Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua rematch

Joyce is currently ranked No 1 by the WBO and is patiently awaiting his shot at the title which is currently held by Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk and Joshua are set to rematch on August 20 for the WBA ‘super’, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles but it is presently unclear which sanctioning body’s mandatory challenger will be elevated to the first shot at the titles.

The WBA has Daniel Dubois as their “regular” champion with Michael Hunter ranked at No 1. While the IBF mandatory position is expected to be competed for between Zhang Zhilei and Filip Hrgovic at some point in the near future.

If the spinning bottle stops on Joyce, he could be next in line, but it will likely mean more waiting, so Joyce will want to stay active in the meantime.


Mike Tyson describes prison as ‘the best three years of my life’

Joyce’s plans plunged into danger as ex-Usyk foe throws name into mix

Joshua hits out at Fury offer ahead of Usyk rematch

Michael Hunter

The only sanctioning body Joyce is not ranked by is the WBA, which is bizarre when you consider that he defeated their current “regular” champion, Dubois, back in 2020. If Joyce hopes to improve his chances of a world title shot, a quick turnaround against No 1 ranked Hunter may suffice.

Hunter was supposed to face Hughie Fury on July 2 in a WBA eliminator bout, but the fight was cancelled after Fury pulled out due to illness. Since the pull-out, Hunter has called for a fight with Parker and has assured the Kiwi that he isn’t locked in to face Fury again. Providing Parker’s management doesn’t move for this bout, the contest could be an attractive proposition for Joyce who is expected to return to the ring in September.