The Mullingar man stopped Scotland’s Stephen Tiffney at the end of the seventh round of their WBO European featherweight title at the Emirates Gold Club.
Fighting at 126lbs for the first time – actually weighing in at 124.75lbs – Joyce looked strong, outmuscling and out-punching a game foe and eventually forcing a stoppage.
For Rio Olympian Joyce it was a first big fight since turning pro in 2017. Indeed, the Westmeath man had wanted major contests last year but saw proposed fights with Marco McCullough, he claims, and Ronnie Clark fall through.
While he has scythed through most of his early opposition, there was a minor hiccup last time out for Joyce who was dropped by Mexican Jorge Zacazontetl en-route to his ninth victory in New York. However, there would be no mistakes tonight in the Gulf as the Irishman showed the gulf in class between himself and the BBBoC Area-level Tiffney.
The 30-year-old had looked set for big things when he scored a show-stealing win over Troy James back in 2017. The Edinburgh stylist then suffered a shock defeat to Lewis Paulin in a Scottish title fight afterwards and spent 2018 rebuilding with wins over journeymen before going in with Joyce.
Initially due to top a bill in Manchester last month, the fight ended up as the chief support bout today on the inaugural MTK Global card to be shown live on the ESPN+ streaming app in America and Joyce certainly impressed in front of Top Rank COO Brad Jacobs among others
It was tit-for-tat to start, both landing heavy single shots, Tiffney perhaps more so but there was strong finish to the round from Joyce who ripped the body.
Joyce showed some better upper body movement at the start of the second before being nailed by a combo from Tiffney and then being momentarily staggered by a counter having landed a good shot of his own. The round opened up further, Joyce pushing, with both being cut above their respective right eyes.
Joyce targeted the body in the third stanza, digging in left hooks while Tiffney whipped back with uppercuts but the heavier and busier work was coming from the Irishman.
A big body shot to start the fourth made Tiffney momentarily wilt and the Joyce pressure would continue as he established a nice rhythm. ‘Tiff’ was still squeezing in some nice counters but was being made to work hard.
The tempo dropped, slightly, as we approached half-way and it was Joyce that was picking the better shots and exploding with flurries.
Into the sixth, the body assaults continued from Joyce and , by now, he looked to be firmly on top – before a big combination from Tiffney hit home and ‘The Punisher’ was bundled to the canvas, no knockdown ruled.
Tiffney boxed well at the start of the seventh but Joyce soon re-established his dominance and sent the Scot down heavily following a prolonged combination, a powerful straight right the final shot. Tiffney rose with 30 seconds to go and Joyce went in for the kill, rag-dolling the Hearts man around the ring. With nothing coming back, the bout was waved off, just as the bell rang out, and Joyce celebrated wildly.
The win sees Joyce improve his perfect professional record to 10(8)-0 and he picks up the WBO European title in the process while Tiffney drops to 10(4)-2(1).
Joyce should now be added to the WBO Top 15 in the next update and, at 32 years of age, he will be looking to move quickly towards the title which is currently held by Top Rank’s Mexican hotshot Óscar Valdez.