Fine art student Joe Joyce must create masterpiece to brush off Dubois after triple jump wannabe's late leap into boxing

KO artist Joe Joyce is a heavyweight banger with the refined touch of a renaissance man. 

While excelling as an excellent amateur athlete, 6ft 6in Putney giant Joyce studied for a 2:1 in fine arts, graduating from Middlesex Uni in 2009 with a portfolio to be proud of.

When an Achilles’ tendon injury wrecked Joyce’s plans of becoming an Olympic gold winning triple jumper, he picked up a pair of boxing gloves at the late age of 22.

The gentle giant was soon Anthony Joshua’s chief sparring partner at the Team GB base in Sheffield, sharpening AJ’s steel for perfectly for his successful run at the London 2012 games.

With four more years under his headguard, Joyce followed in Joshua’s footsteps by racing to Rio with high expectations.

And he didn’t disappoint with a stoppage and two unanimous decisions taking him to the Brazilian final where he met Frenchman Tony Yoka.

A post shared by Joe Joyce (@joejoyceboxing)

A post shared by Joe Joyce (@joejoyceboxing)

For almost everyone inside the Riocentre, Joyce was the runaway winner, who would follow up a gold medal with the same sort of mega-money pro contract Audley Harrison and AJ were handed after their amateur pinnacles.

But deeply questionable judging handed Yoka a split decision win and Joyce – too polite and genuine a character to build a pro career on trash talk – was forced to build up from the bottom.

Even in almost-scandalous defeat, he was too articulate to abuse the system, saying: “It was the last bout of the night, the last medal of the Olympic Games 2016, and I thought that gold was mine. 

“I was landing shots on him all that last round, maybe two eye-catching shots.

"All throughout the bout, I was peppering him with shots, going through his guard. It was just the odd shot that he nicked it.”

Joyce started his pro career off at the end of 2017 and has enjoyed spells under esteemed trainers Ismael Salas, California-based Abel Sanchez and Adam Booth.

Now aged 35, he is 11-0 with ten KOs inside the distance and stands on the cusp of a breakout win that will launch him into world title contention.

During lockdown his life has been typically diverse, summer days were spent rollerblading around some of West London’s best parks.

At the home he shares with his inspirational mum, he enjoys playing on his virtual reality gaming console, the Oculus Quest headset, with boxing games like Creed and Thrill of the Fight.

If Joyce enjoys a thrilling fight on Saturday, you can expect him to show-off another of his artistic passions with some capoeira.

The Brit banger has studied the Brazil-based blend of martial arts and dance for years and demonstrated incredible skills for a man his size in the ring.

Mum Marvel, who is 93 per cent blind, has played a huge role in her son’s career by inspiring him with sponsored walks up Mount Kilimanjaro to help fund eyesight-related charities.

When Dubois made a surprising and clumsy comment about Marvel, Joyce showed a rare glimpse of aggression he will need at the Church Rooms in Westminster this weekend. 

A defeat at this age, against a wonderkid 12 years his junior, would set Joyce back almost irreparably.

But a win would sling him into the mix with the likes of Joshua and Tyson Fury.

If the heavyweight boxing landscape has become a bit predictable, then there is nobody better skilled or educated than Joe ‘The Juggernaut’ Joyce to paint a whole new picture.

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