Joe Joyce has the opportunity to emulate Anthony Joshua by winning an Olympic gold medal as a super-heavyweight on Sunday evening.
Joshua won gold at London 2012 and immediately went pro afterwards, forging an unbeaten record and winning the IBF heavyweight title. Is Joyce the next on the production line from Team GB’s amateur ranks?
The 30-year-old from London is boxing an old rival, France’s Tony Yoka, in Rio 2016’s gold medal match on Sunday – an opponent he is familiar with.
Yoka won the gold medal in last year’s World Amateur Boxing Championships having disposed of Joyce in controversial circumstances in the semi-final. The 24-year-old Frenchman was awarded a three-round unanimous decision but the judges almost weren’t required after a left hook by Joyce in the second.
Yoka lacks the size and strength of Joyce but his amateur pedigree can’t be disputed – six years ago at the Youth Olympics, he won a gold medal after beating a certain Joseph Parker.
Another gold medal for Yoka would be the most significant of his sizeable collection and would also remarkably match his fiance’s accomplishments – he is due to marry Estelle Mossely, who won gold for France in the women’s lightweight category.
For Joyce, Sunday’s final is likely to be the last hurrah before stepping into the paid ranks. Doing so as a gold medallist, like Joshua four years ago, would make a colossal difference to his first few steps.
“I’ve beaten Yoka before and he avenged that defeat so it’s my time again,” he said. “He will be on the back foot trying to be smart, and it will be my job to pick him off again.”