Joe Joyce ended a year out of the ring with a third-round TKO win Saturday over Michael Wallisch in the second professional boxing show in the United Kingdom since the coronavirus pandemic saw the sport shut down in March.
Joyce floored Wallisch three times in a comfortable win at the BT Sport Studios in Stratford, in a behind-closed-doors event that was a warm-up, keep-busy fight ahead of Joyce's clash against unbeaten English rival Daniel Dubois later this year.
Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs), from southwest London, is set to face Dubois at The O2 on Oct. 24, assuming a large enough crowd is permitted to make it economically viable; he said he was relieved to box again for the first time in just over 12 months.
"I didn't get a long training camp but it was a good step to get ready for Dubois," said Joyce, who weighed in a career-heaviest 270 pounds.
"I'm a bit portly around the middle but it's tough training in lockdown," Joyce said.
Joyce, the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight silver medalist known as "Juggernaut," started his professional career late, and at age 34 said he wants to move fast.
But 2020 has been frustratingly slow for him after a costly training camp in Las Vegas in preparation to face Dubois in April, before their bout was pushed back, and then pushed back again to October.
Joyce can be happy with his attack against Wallisch, but he was caught too many times in an opening round that would have been welcome viewing for Dubois.
Dubois (14-0, 13 KOs), 22, from southeast London, will prepare for Joyce with a bout against Germany's Erik Pfeifer on Aug. 29, and is a concussive puncher.
Wallisch (20-4, 13 KOs), 34, from Munich, had lost his previous fight by third-round stoppage to France's Tony Yoka, who beat Joyce in the 2016 Olympic super heavyweight final for a gold medal. Matching Yoka's effort will have pleased Joyce, but he began slowly and carelessly.
Wallisch was able to connect with a few overhand right hands in the first rounds before Joyce got into his rhythm later in the opener.
Joyce's style is relentless walk-forward pressure, and late in the second round Wallisch sunk to the canvas after an accumulation of a right to the body and one to the top of the head.
In the third round, Joyce twice floored Wallisch after sustained pressure. When Wallisch went down from a right hook to the head, followed by a sweeping left to the body, the fight was waved off.
Joyce was without U.S.-based trainer Ismael Salas due to the travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I would like to get back as soon as possible [to the U.S.]," Joyce said, who hopes to join Salas in Las Vegas as soon as he can.
"If I can't travel there, he will just have to come here [to the U.K.]."
On the undercard, Henry Turner outpointed Chris Adaway over four rounds at welterweight, Louie Lynn stopped Monty Ogilvie in two rounds at junior lightweight, unbeaten middleweight Denzel Bentley earned a sixth-round retirement win over Mick Hall, and Chris Bourke outpointed Ramez Mahmood 96-94 at junior featherweight.