JOE’ JUGGERNAUT’ JOYCE kept on heavyweight world-title course with a dominant six-round win over ex-world champ Bermane Stiverne.
The British 2016 Olympic silver medallist is creeping toward a crack at the WBA regular title after just eight professional wins.
And his one-sided triumph over the 19.5st Canadian, to retain his Commonwealth title, proved he is close to the elite level Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and old Team GB sparring partner Anthony Joshua dominate.
Stiverne, at a career heaviest, landed first with a big right hand that grabbed everyone’s attention.
But the 6ft 6in ace was sparked into life by the affront and replied with a selection of clubbing blows to Stiverne’s head and bulging body.
The former WBC boss liked to lean back on the ropes and let 33-year-old Joyce pound away at his ribs as he could fire off shots in between and he enjoyed some success in the opening round.
Joyce’s bearded chin was even tested again early in the second with another short, sharp hook from the 40-year-old Canadian.
But the Putney powerhouse roared back with a series of piledrivers that somehow did not floor the veteran.
Before his one-round annihilation against Deontay Wilder in 2017, Stiverne went the distance with the Bronze Bomber in 2015.
And he showed stunning resilience again to survive the second round, a few times the Haiti-born giant looked out on his feet, swaying with eyes glazed.
But he completed six minutes with Joyce and made it back to his corner looking groggy.
Round three started as the second ended, with Joyce pummeling his opponent and referee Howard Foster close to calling it off.
A riant right hand eventually floored Stiverne for the first time in the fight, his huge frame falling onto the bottom rope before bouncing back up for a count of eight.
Joyce used Stiverne’s puffy face for target practice in the fourth, a desperate and squeaky-voiced member of his corner was screaming for more head movement from their man.
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But he seemed unable to evade Joyce’s catalogue of shots, the only concern for Joyce fans was how he was struggling to end the night earlier.
Joyce kept the pressure up throughout the fifth and in the sixth stanza, with Stiverne barley standing and refusing to return fire, Foster jumped in to stop the slaughter.
Stiverne did not complain, he stumbled back to his corner, spitting out a chunk of his mouth en route to a thorough medical check-up.