If ever there was an Irish fighter suited perfectly to being progressed along the professional boxing fast-track it would be David Oliver Joyce.
Not only does the Mullingar lightweight have a style which onlookers have long-described as being suited to the pros, he also has buckets experience of the longer format.
Add to this that he is 30 years old and it seems a no-brainer to progress Joyce as quickly as allowable.
The Rio Olympian makes his professional debut at the Waterfront Hall on June 17th, and while he loves a fresh challenge, Joyce notes how there is an air of familiarity about the process.
Joyce described how “it’s new to me – well, it’s new and it’s not, because I’ve done APB, I’ve done WSB, so I know what the game is like.”
“I’ve done it all at amteur, so it’s time to move on and see how I get on in the professional game.”
“I like new challenges. I’ve done everything as an amateur, I’ve boxed some of the best boxers in the world, but this is new to me. I want to go to the top of the game, this lightweight division, and I’ve got the ability to do it.”
“I can’t wait for it. I started my camp on Sunday. I’m looking forward to it,” he said of the ‘Battle of Belfast’ fight night
Despite his experience, an extended period out of the ring since his exploits at the Olympics last Summer means that Joyce will debut over ‘just’ four rounds. The St michael’s Athy boxer, now trained by Pete Taylor, wants to pass this opening exam and move quickly into deeper waters.
“I would’ve like to have done a six rounder,” he admitted.
“I think I have the conditioning to do it once I start training. I’ve done four APB eight rounders. I’m well able to do eight. I want to go on the fast-track, there’s no point in doing fours and fours, I want to go straight on to six rounders and eight rounders.”
“I want to go like Paddy [Barnes], I want to be fast-tracked.”
“I’m 30 years of age, I don’t have years to waste. I feel I’ve still got a good five, six years in me at the top of this game.”
“If I didn’t think I had it, I wouldn’t have turned over.”
“I’m still sparring younger guys than myself, good guys, 20, 21, 22 year olds and I’m baiting the head off these guys.”
Joyce’s amateur ledger reads like a who’s who of pro boxing names. Those who he has defeated include Joe Fitzpatrick, Tyrone McKenna, Dennis Ceylan, Carl Frampton, Joe Cordina, Eric Donovan, and Robson Conceição, while he has also faced current world champions Vasyl Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez.
This past pedigree serves to reassure Joyce ahead of his pro assault, and he noted how “I watched Cordina there on the Joshua show, and I’ve beaten him. He beat me in the [Olympic] qualifiers, we thought we would have gotten the decision but it didn’t go our way.”
“Watching him go well in the professional game, I know my ability will go a long way in this game, and it gives you a bit of a lift watching them guys.”
The card on June 17th also features Lewis Crocker, Jamie Conlan, Steven Ward, WBO European title fights for Paddy Barnes and Steve Ormond against Silveau Oltneau and Craig Evans respectively, and an IBF super featherweight title clash between Jono Carroll and Johnny Quigley.
Tickets for the night cost £30, £40, £60, and £150, and are available from the boxers involved.
Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 4 of The Irish Boxing Show