Six-time Irish Elite amateur champion Joyce has his fifth pro fight this weekend – competing in a six-rounder against Nicaraguan Reynaldo Cajina – in support of former amateur rival Carl Frampton, who headlines against Mexican Horacio Garcia at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
An exciting fight bill also features a number of Irish High Performance veterans and major international medalists including Paddy Barnes, Gary Cully, Steven Ward, Tommy McCarthy, and Jamie Conlan – with the latter challenging IBF super fly beltholder Jerwin Ancajas for his first world title.
“It’s just unbelievable to see the talent that’s on the card,” said Joyce, a 2016 Olympian and triple EU gold medallist.
“I don’t think Irish boxing – amateur or professional – has ever seen a card like this with so many talented boxers on it. It’s a great card and I’m so overjoyed to be on it.”
“There’s plenty of familiar faces and to be boxing on the same show as some of my old friends and guys I’ve known from my amateur career is unbelievable.”
Joyce and Frampton fought a series of dramatic amateur bouts before ‘The Jackal’ turned pro in went on to become a two-weight world champion as a pro back in 2009. Mullingar native Joyce waited eight years to follow his old friend and foe into the paid ranks, making his debut last June.
Saturday’s card marks Frampton’s return to the ring after a first pro loss to Leo Santa Cruz last January and Joyce believes ‘The Jackal’ will be back to his best having come through some tough sparring against the Belfast star during the Summer.
The Westmeath puncher described how “I’m delighted to see Carl back in the ring and to have him on the same team with MTK,”
“It’s like the old days with the Irish team again. We had wars in the amateur game, they were great scraps and just to be on the same show as Frampton again and boxing alongside him is great.”
“I was over sparring with him again recently, so I know what he’s got. He’s going to give the professional game another boost.”
“You’d pay money to watch us spar – the same as in the amateurs – and we got a couple of days of hard, heavy sparring. I was sore going home, I tell you that!”
The fight tomorrow night will be Joyce’s fifth in five months since turning pro and his second successive bout at the SSE Odyssey Arena having featured on the Burnett v Zhakiyanov undercard.
Last month the 30 year old stopped Andy Harris in the first, and looks to have another relatively soft match tomorrow, and Joyce is looking ahead to a big 2018 with his short apprenticeship almost complete.
‘The Punisher’ said that “to be on such a big show at this stage of my career is phenomenal too and I believe even bigger and better things are going to happen next year.”