The Mullingar featherweight was in action at the Barys Arena in Astana where he outpointed Venezuelan Breilor Teran over ten punishing rounds, his second fight over the distance.
Rio Olympian Joyce outmuscled and outworked his crafty Caracas opponent throughout to claim a wide win on the cards, live on ESPN+ and in front of Top Rank supremo Bob Arum.
Following a somewhat frustrating 2018 where he saw some big fights fall through, Joyce steeped up last time out in Dubai, stopping Scot Steven Tiffney to claim the WBO European rankings belt and is now placed at #11 with the organisation who boast Arum’s Óscar Valdez as their current champion.
In Teran he faced a dangerous, if undersized, opponent. The South American’s patchy record owes a lot to seven defeats in his opening 10 but he was by no means a South American with an inflated record. Aside from a WBA interim super flyweight title challenge of David Sanchez in 2014, Teran came to the ring boasting plenty of away corner wins – both in his native land and as far afield as Japan. Most recently he was retired by undefeated Mexican Aaron Alameda while he was also beaten last year by reigning WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete.
Joyce began steadily in an open opening round, stalking Teran. The Venezuelan popped off a couple of body shots in warning, but the relentless Mullingar man was already starting to take over by the end of the second.
Teran came out fast in the third but quickly had this aggression beat out of him by Joyce. Cornering his 34-year-old opponent and turning the screw, Joyce did damage with his textbook high workrate. Teran remained dangerous, with some worrying cameos, namely a sneaky uppercut and a huge overhand left that momentarily stopped Joyce in his tracks.
A right hand from Teran at the start of the fourth did turn the head of Joyce but he continued to outwork the crafty Latino.
The clash became increasingly turgid in the fifth, with Joyce’s pace affecting Teran who was beginning to hold and spoil. While getting popped with counters perhaps too much for coach Pete Taylor’s liking, the quality offensive work was coming from the triple EU gold medallist who looked to have Teran going during one period of trading on the ropes in the closing minute.
it was more controlled by ‘The Punisher’ whose sustained pressure was surely seeing him bank an unassailable lead as we entered the fight’s second half. Somehow stepping on the gas in the seventh, Joyce attacked early on and Teran was struggling to cope, eventually being docked a point for excessive holding.
Obviously wanting the stoppage, Joyce drew ‘oohs’ from the Kazakh crowd after landing a succession of heavy shots which shuddered Teran but the Venezuelan managed to survive the crisis round.
The end could have come in the eighth, with left hooks and straight rights rattling Teran throughout but we proceeded – and Joyce picked up a nick to the side of his left eye.
The pace dipped in the ninth, much to Terana’s benefit, and Joyce grew frustrated by the survival spoiling from his fatigued opponent, eliciting a warning from the referee for hitting and holding.
Joyce pushed hard for the finish in the final round, wobbling Teran but we would go the distance for a near shutout.
Going to the cards it was indeed a shut-out – with two judges even adding in knockdown-less 10-8s. The final tallies read 100-89, 100-87, and 100-86 all in favour of Joyce who improves to 11(8)-0 while the gutsy Teran drops to 27(20)-18(4)-1.
Next up for 32-year-old Joyce following this Asian excursion, hopefully, will be a move into the Top 10 of the WBO’s rankings in their forthcoming update. From there, he may want to target another ranked fighter for an eliminator – with the eventual goal being the winner of the heavily-mooted clash between champion Valdez and old amateur rival Carl Frampton.
Managed by MTK Global who have recently linked up with Top Rank, there are plenty of progressive fights on the cards for Joyce – with the American outfit promoting Valdez, Frampton, and another three of the top five in Jessie Magdaleno, Mick Conlan, and Shakur Stevenson.