Joyce aiming to “get my number one spot back” after tough year

It would seem that one of the most decorated underage fighters in the history of Irish boxing has had a quiet first full year as a senior boxer.

So used to being the champion, John Joyce was forced to sit on the sidelines for most of the Olympic-focused year. However, the St Michael’s Athy fighter has been diligently training ahead of 2017, where he intends to take top spot in Ireland.

Talked about in hushed tones in Irish boxing circles, the middleweight won nine Irish underage titles, European Schoolboys gold (2011), European Junior gold (2013), European Youth silver (2014) and bronze (2015). Indeed the only year where he didn’t win available honours in Europe was 2012 where he was edged out in the quarter finals of the European Juniors, in what was his first year in the category, by the eventual gold medalist. On his first foray onto the Senior scene, he was defeated in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament by Michael O’Reilly.

Now 19, and with a year of training with the High Performance Unit under his belt, Joyce is looking to take over in the new year.

He spoke to and explained how “it was very hard this year, waiting for my turn to come as I was so use to being the number one guy. I spent a lot of the time with the Irish Senior team in 2016, learning some new stuff and getting great spars with some of best lads in world.”

Before February’s Senior Elites [Joyce does not intend to enter the under 22s in January], the Kildare fighter will get some Bundesliga action under his belt. Joyce will be fighting for the BSK Hannover Seelze against BC Chemnitz 94 in the competition which begins this weekend. While it is a team-based affair somewhat similar to the WSB, the Irishman is focusing on himself and himself alone. He described how “it will be a bit different, but I won’t be really thinking anything about it, I’ll be just getting into the ring and doing my job and focusing on my performance.”

Joyce stressed that the main objective is the Senior Elites in February, and getting back to being called the best man in the country. Here he will face competition from the likes of Conor Wallace, Martin Stokes, and perhaps Caoimhin Hynes [recent World Youth Championships bronze medalist Michael Nevin does not look likely to enter]. Joyce outlined that “in February I’ll be pushing my way right back onto the number one spot, I’m focusing on the Senior Elites”

“That’s my goal, to get my number one spot back.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: