Five-time Irish Elite champion David Oliver Joyce will be aiming to take a big step toward the Rio 2016 Olympics in Uzbekistan tomorrow evening.
The current European Union champion meets Uzbek lightweight and Beijing 2008 Olympian Hurshid Tojabaev at the O‘zbekiston Sport venue over eight rounds in AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).
Joyce will make his own piece of Irish boxing history at the weekend as he will become the first boxer affiliated to the IABA to compete over eight rounds.
Click here for Saturday’s card.
If the St Michael’s Athy man wins in Tashkent he will face either Brazil’s Robson Donato or Russia’s Dmitry Polyanskiy for a place at the Rio Olympics and in the 2015 APB lightweight final.
“APB is working out great for me, I’m in the top four. I’ve got two more fights left and hopefully, fingers crossed, I can win the two of them,” said Joyce.
Irish head coach Billy Walsh and Zuar Antia will be working Joyce’s corner in Saturday’s four-bout card. The Joyce versus Tojabaev eight-rounder is the final fight on the bill.
Boxing begins at 8pm local time. Tashkent is four hours ahead of Ireland.
Meanwhile, Joe Ward meets French light-heavy Mathieu Bauderlique in APB in Sofia, Bulgaria on June 6.
Ward neatly summed up why he and Joyce have little room for error.
He said: “APB is a new system with longer rounds, I adapt fairly quickly. I’m two fights away (from Olympics) but it’s like everything – two fights is a long way if you don’t win.”