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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Joyce goes into battle

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Driven: John Joyce reckons his army lifestyle helps his boxing
Driven: John Joyce reckons his army lifestyle helps his boxing

John Joyce has a confidence that's built on the foundation of his lifestyle.

"Training is what I do," he says. "My job in the army allows me to integrate training and work."

The Dublin welterweight's coach Tony Davitt wishes he had more boxers like Joyce.

"He has a great attitude and doesn't smoke or drink," he says. "He's always on time and trains hard. He's usually the last out of the gym. He eats well and has no problem making weight.

"If they were all like John, I'd be over the moon."

Joyce (3-0, 2 KOs) will have his fourth professional fight tonight on promoter Neil Power's Ring Kings show at the Waterford WIT Arena.

Having made his pro debut in the National Stadium less than a year ago, Joyce (31) is anxious to gauge how much he's improved since his amateur coach Barry O'Meara recommended his style to Davitt.

"I've been sparring Stephen Ormond, Frankie Gavin and Ray Moylette," says Joyce. "Top-class fighters. The best sparring in Ireland."

With two stoppages to his credit, the army corporal adds: "I always had great power, but maybe not punch control. Now that I'm punching better, I know I have even more power. Even with the 16oz gloves in sparring I'm getting huge power into shots. I can't wait to see how things play out with the 8oz gloves."

Davitt adds: "John has done over 60 rounds of sparring in readiness for tonight."

While Joyce didn't create waves in the seniors as an amateur, he caught the eye at intermediate. Is there a sense that, at 31, this fighter, known for his aggression in the ring, is in a race against time?

"There's no pressure at all," says the Lucan man. "Every boxer wants to be pro. I want to see where this takes me. I'm not worried how fast I'm moving because I'm not in my prime yet - 31 is like 21 to me. And I'm mentally tough as well."

Speaking with authority, and a sense of humour, Joyce adds, "Lads tell me I should box full-time but I have the best job. Army training is perfect for me. The ring is not intimidating for me. Some of the people I've had to deal with in the army are scarier than anyone I could meet in the ring."

A win tonight against tough Hungarian Ferenc Jarko could see Joyce out again on the Stephen McAfee and Colin O'Donovan title fight show in Dublin on March 24.

"This guy has taken the more experienced Sean Creagh and Stephen Carroll the distance," says John. "The only guy to stop him was Lewis Crocker, who's a puncher like me. He's tough, for sure, so it should be a great fight. This is what I've trained for."

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