11 August 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Irish light-welterweight John Joe Joyce believes that he is only going to get better and better after exorcising a few demons in his last-32 clash with Gyula Kate on Sunday.
Joyce had been beaten by the Hungarian in their three previous meetings but recorded a shock 9-5 win in their latest clash, at Beijings Workers Gymnasium.
After overcoming such a daunting hurdle, Joyce is now, unsurprisingly, brimming with self-belief.
“Usually, as a tournament goes on, the better I go, and that’s why I was hoping to get a good draw, the 20-year-old explained.
But God didn’t give me a good draw. He gave me the toughest man I could have expected in the first round, a man who has beaten me the last three times in just over a year.
So beating him the way I beat him is some achievement. In the Worlds [World Championships last November, he scored 32 points against me. He got just five [on Sunday].
He’s been my bogeyman. He’s been torturing me for the last year, drawing him in the first round everywhere I go.
I needed to come up with something special and I did – happy days.”
Despite leading at the end of every round, Joyce revealed that only in the last did he know that he was ahead.
I didnt know the score right through the fight. I just took it second by second and minute by minute, he stated.
When I got one score, I began thinking where I was going to get the next score – when I would get a score I would move around, he would come at me and I would pick him off again.
I didnt know what the score was but I knew I was getting scores from the reaction of the crowd. When you are in there you can only control your own performance and thats what I did. Then the crowd began telling me we were going into the last ten seconds.
At the end of the third round I asked Billy [Walsh, Ireland team coach] what the score was and he told me not to worry about the score, to just keep doing what I was doing and focus on the round.
You get that feeling when you are winning and I could see it in his [Kates] eyes that he was under pressure from the second round on.
In the last two fights he had me gone before the last two rounds, he was in control, but now I could see it in his eyes that he was weak, now I knew I was in control.
Joyce will face Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals.