Joe Joyce entered the O2 Arena on February 23 as one of boxing's top heavyweight prospects but left the venue as a contender.
In the co-main event of Chris Eubank Jr.'s win over James DeGale, Joyce stopped former world champion Bermane Stiverne in the sixth-round to win his eighth pro bout. Joyce not only retained the Commonwealth title, but also captured the newly-create WBA Gold title.
Joyce dominated the fight, but Stiverne managed to land several power punches upstairs in the first round. Joyce dropped Stiverne with a big right hand in the third round and although Stiverne recovered, he was never able to pose any trouble for Joyce. Joyce ending things with a flurry of punches late in the sixth round that forced the referee to stop the fight and award him the victory.
The bout served also as a title eliminator not for the WBA world title that Anthony Joshua has, but the WBA secondary world title that Manuel Charr has. Charr was originally supposed to fight mandatory challenger Fres Oquendo, but the fight fell apart, meaning Joyce, the No. 5 heavyweight in the WBA rankings, would likely be the next man in line to fight Charr.
On the undercard, former featherweight champion Lee Selby made a triumphant return to the ring against Omar Douglas. Selby, making his lightweight debut, won the IBF Intercontinental title by unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 115-113) but had to deal with cuts above both of his eyes suffered throughout the fight. The 32-year-old Selby was coming off a loss to Josh Warrington last May with the IBF featherweight world title on the line.
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