David Oliver Joyce has been knocked out tonight in London by Romanian bogeyman Ionut Baluta.
The defeater of TJ Doheny claimed another Irish scalp on the Josh Taylor v Apinun Khongsong undercard at BT Sport Studios, taking Joyce’s WBO European title and sending the Westmeath Olympian out of world title contention.
Baluta knocked ‘The Punisher’ down in the third round of their super bantamweight contest and finished the fight soonafter for another against-the-odds triumph.
The game Baluta had caused one of the shocks of the year back in March in Dubai where he outpointed an out-of-sorts Doheny over eight rounds. The upset victory over a recent world champion came off the back of another underdog triumph last October when he defeated Kyle Williams, who fights Charlie Edwards in tonight’s chief support, in Wolverhampton – further emphasising his danger to DOJ.
For Joyce, it was another major contest and a first defence of the WBO European super bantamweight rankings title he won versus Lee Haskins in Belfast in February. That bout had been his comeback and first at 122lbs following his Golden Contract defeat to Leigh Wood last October.
Like versus Doheny, Baluta began quickly, most likely taking the opener as Joyce sized up his opposition.
Joyce had warmed into the first round, landing a few nice left hooks as the stanza progressed but was caught early in the second as Baluta piled on the pressure. The experienced Irishman managed to temporarily weather the storm, timing a nice right hands but the bigger belts were coming through from the inspired Baluta.
The Mullingar man did make a better start to the third but it all quickly unravelled, a long left hook sending him down heavily. Joyce rose but was quickly sent back to the ropes and referee Steve Gray intervened to end the bout.
33-year-old Joyce now falls to 12(9)-2(2) and his next move at this stage looks unsure. The sensational road warrior Baluta improves to 14(3)-2(0) and could soon be seen in more major fights.