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Joyce proves to be quick on the draw

IT’S A KNOCKOUT: The young talent puts Goodall on the canvas in Glasgow

MANY AGREE that boxing is an art form but not too many embody the sentiment as literally as Commonwealth Games men's super-heavyweight gold medallist Joseph Joyce.

Having graduated from Middlesex University earning an art degree, Joyce, 28, swiftly turned his attention to pursuing his life-long passion for engaging in elite sport.

“I’ve always been particularly arty so I guess I’ve worked with my skills, which were art and sport, and pushed them to the best level I can,” the boxing champion told the Voice of Sport.

“I remember doing a painting, which is the art form I specialise in, on icons Bruce Lee and Joe Louis, bringing all of the things I like together,” he adds.

Dabbling with various sports since as far back as he can remember, Joyce decided to hone his love for martial arts and fighting.

While his class-mates attended their graduation ceremony to claim their much deserved certificates, Joyce decided to tick off a personal ambition of training with a Shaolin Kung Fu school in China; it was an experience of a lifetime but not quite the one he expected.

“When I finished university I had already booked a trip to China to attend a Shaolin Kung Fu school so that meant I missed my graduation,” he says.

“The Shaolin school wasn’t what I expected, it didn’t have loads of monks or anything but I did train four times a day, running up pathways, learning forms and power training. I’ve always wanted to do it and I said when I finished uni I would go and do it.”

Joyce explains how he got started in boxing. “It was when I got back from there and started going to the gym, I decided to take it seriously.

“I’d done other sports like athletics and rugby but I’ve always done martial arts, karate and capoeira, from a young age but I was good at boxing and loved hitting the bag, loved that contact element of the sport.”

Joyce’s win at the recent Commonwealth Games, where he beat Joseph Goodall in the final, confirmed what many had anticipated prior to the tournament starting, the United Kingdom has another heavyweight prospect on the rise.

Not distracted by the lure of turning professional and cashing in just yet, Joyce believes he has a long way to go before he is a household name and has targeted the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the next goal before he even considers stepping up from being an amateur.

“I’m getting there, step by step. I want to go to Rio because I want to be an Olympian. It’s obviously going to be a harder challenge than the Commonwealth Games but I think it is possible (to win).

“I could do it now, I’m sure there are offers but I want to become better known, not everyone saw the Commonwealth
Games, everyone watches the Olympics.

He continues: “Anthony Joshua and all of those who did well at London 2012 are just ahead of me. There is a group of us coming through that represent the next wave of boxers in the country.”

Joyce admits that the passing of his grand-mother, who fought a long battle with cancer, the day after he returned from Glasgow, took the gloss off his achievements somewhat, but he said he was glad she held on long enough to see the medal around his neck.

Having taken some inevitable time off following his gold medal winning performance at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, by escaping to the party haven of Ibiza, Joyce says he is looking forward to the future.
He says: “I’m glad she held on until she saw the medal. I knew she had been ill for a while as she had been in and out of hospital and was getting weaker.

“My uncle didn’t tell me she had got worse during the time I was in Scotland in order for me to concentrate on my fights.

“It’s obviously a sad time for my family and I especially as we would like to bury her next to my grandad in Nigeria but because of the Ebola outbreak it’s proving difficult to organise.”

“I’ve taken some time off since I got back from Glasgow just to unwind. I am away again later this year but I will be back in training soon and hopefully competing again in order to start to qualifying process for Rio.

“I’ve never been to Rio before I think it would be amazing.”

Joseph Joyce is a name to note.

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