David Oliver Joyce wants to join Carl Frampton as king of boxing world

James Tennyson and Paul Hyland jnr pictured with Matchrooms Promotions' Eddie Hearn. Both will appear on the 'Belfast Boy' fight night at the Odyssey Arena on June 10. The Ryan Burnett v Lee Haskins headlined show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports

CARL Frampton and David Oliver Joyce did battle four times as amateurs and Mullingar native Joyce had his hand raised after the first three of those contests.

Frampton won the fourth meeting shortly before he turned pro in 2009 and since then he has gone on to become Ireland’s second two-weight world champion, winning titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight.

Now Joyce has joined him in the punch-for-pay ranks and the vastly-experienced 30-year-old kicks off his professional career at the Waterfront Hall on June 17.

“Me and Carl fought four times and he won the last one in 2009 and then he did the jump – he went to the professional game before I could get a rematch on him,” said Joyce, a clever, stylish boxer who fought out of St Michael’s ABC in Athy.

“They were all cracking fights, super fights and he went pro in 2009 and I went and got a European gold medal which kept me in the amateur game. We met up a couple of times for sparring after that and we kept in contact and we’re still good pals.”

The highly-decorated amateur decided the time was right for a change after last summer’s Rio Olympic Games. After discussions with US promoters came to nothing, he signed with Matt Macklin’s MTK (Mack the Knife) stable and is in a hurry to begin his new challenge.

“I can’t wait,” he said.

“It’s new to me but at the same time it’s not because I’ve done WSB and I’ve done APB so I know what the game is like.

“I’ve done it all at amateur so it’s time to move on and see how I get on in the professional game. I like new challenges along the way and at amateur I’ve boxed some of the best in the world.

“I’m a lightweight and I want to go to the top in this game – I want to take over the lightweight division and I have the ability to do it.”

He added: “I went to the States in November because I wanted to turn over when I got back home.

“I was talking to a couple of promoters but it wasn’t the right deal for me and it didn’t happen. Then the Sports Council was on top me to go back in with them and MTK was on at the same time.

“I announced that I was finished with amateur boxing and MTK gave me the deal that I wanted. I’m back home but I’ll have my camps in Marbella and I’m delighted with the deal I got.”

He began training with Peter Taylor – father of Katie and a highly-rated coach – in Bray and will add the finishing touches to his preparations for his debut at the MTK Gym in Marbella, Spain.

“We’ll see how we get on for the first fight anyway,” he said.

“I met Peter for a chat and had our first session and we gelled well together so I think we’re going to make a good team.

“We’re going to have a camp in Bray for the first three weeks and then we’re going to go to Marbella for two and-a-half weeks and finish off with a sparring camp out there. I’m looking forward to it and I’ve known Pete for years.

“Even though he was working with Katie (Taylor) we’ve done pads together and different bits and pieces.”

Joyce’s debut is over four rounds, but at the age of 30 he is well aware that time isn’t necessarily on his side. He wants to move quickly and doesn’t feel that he needs a bedding-in period.

“I would have liked to start with a six-rounder because I think I’ve got the conditioning to do that,” he said

“I’ve fought APB eight-rounders and I’m well able to do eight. I want to go fast, there’s no point in me doing four-rounders, and I want to go straight to six or eight rounders. Once I go into camp I train hard and I know I have the ability to go a long way in this game.

“At 30 years-of-age I want to be fast-tracked and I feel like I have a good five or six years in me to get to the top of this game. If I didn’t think I had it I wouldn’t have turned over.

“I’m sparring 20-year-olds and beating the heads off them and if I am fast-tracked and do it right I can go a long way.”

Meanwhile, Joyce has voiced his support for new Irish amateur boxing Tsar Bernard Dunne who was named IABA High Performance Director recently.

“I was there since I was 17 and I had a great life there, they treated me very well,” he said.

“Bernard is the right man for the job, he’ll look after the boxers, he’s in it for the boxers and he is the right guy.

“He’ll bring something that was absent since Gary Keegan left. When Gary was there at the start he gave a lot to it and when Billy Walsh was there he gave what he could give even though it wasn’t his role, he was a coach.

“Bernard knows boxing inside and out, he has done it. He’s in it for the boxers, not anything else.”

LEWIS Crocker has warned that a “happy fighter is a dangerous fighter” as he prepares for the second outing of his fledgling pro career.

The big-hitting welterweight blasted out Hungarian Ferenc Janko after 66 seconds of his debut in March and broke his hand in the process. However, he is over his injury problems now and says he will be firing on all cylinders for the June 17 bill at the Waterfront hall.

“This camp has been great so far,” said Crocker.

“We’ve really been putting in the hard work and I think I’m getting more confident in my ability the older I get and I’m really pushing myself.”

Crocker expects a tougher test at the Waterfront Hall bill, which will also feature Paddy Barnes and Jamie Conlan, but he doesn’t rule out another first round stoppage.

“It was great to win like that because I hadn’t fought for quite a while and I was a bit nervous,” he admitted.

“I was thinking ‘do I even have power?’ But I got the win and that’s the ball rolling now.

“It doesn’t matter, they’re eight ounce gloves and when you hit anyone with them on it can hurt especially with my power. I’m confident it won’t go the distance again.

“If go for 70 seconds,” he adds with a laugh.

“It’s good to get the rounds in as well but if I can take someone out I will. I don’t go into a fight to try and knock someone out, it just comes. Hopefully it’s the same again.”

Crocker says there is much more to his game than big-hitting. The former amateur star is working hard with coach Ray Ginley to develop his boxing skills.

“I’m not just a big puncher,” he said.

“You have to have boxing ability and a boxing brain. I’m smart, I don’t get caught much - I never have black eyes and busted noses and all that sort of stuff.

“There is a lot of hype about me, but it’s obviously there for a reason.”

London-based north Belfast bantamweight Ryan Burnett fights for a world title at the Odyssey Arena the week before the Waterfront bill and Crocker intends to get to that stage too.

“Carl (Frampton) is 10 years older than me and Jamie and Paddy are nine years older,” he said.

“Anything can happen in that amount of time and I have a great team behind me in MTK and Frank Warren so if I keep dedicated and train the way I am training I don’t see why I can’t get up there.

“My ambition is to be world champion and once I get there I’ll be happy. Ray has done a great job with me and all the other boxers and everyone is loving it.

“A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter.”

PAUL Hyland jnr and James Tennyson join a supporting cast of emerging Irish talent on the undercard of the Ryan Burnett versus Lee Haskins IBF Bantamweight world title rumble at the Odyssey Arena on June 10.

Heavy-handed Irish super-featherweight champion Tennyson and unbeaten lightweight Hyland will be joined by Mathew Wilton (East Belfast), Tyrone McCullagh (Derry), Fergal McCrory (Coalisland) and Paddy Gallagher (Belfast) on the Matchroom Promotions bill and they will all be determined to take their chance to shine on the Sky Sports show.

“It is great to see both Paul and James getting the opportunities they deserve,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“They have both worked hard over the last few years and taken their chances when they arrived.

“I am delighted for Ryan, he is a great lad and has worked just as hard to promote himself in and out of the ring, they have all boxed together on the pro circuit and won convincingly and I'm expecting the same come June 10.”

Tickets priced at £30, £40, £60, £100 & £150 (VIP) are available from all of the boxers mentioned or call 07712 473905.

TYSON Fury has targeted a comeback fight on July 8.

Fury has not fought since beating Wladimir Klitschko for the world heavyweight titles in November 2015, due to a combination of drug issues and mental health concerns.

But in the wake of Anthony Joshua's stunning Wembley win over Klitschko, Fury has returned to training and is intent on securing an all-British super-fight with the new champion.

Fury's camp are confident they can avoid further sanction from UKAD, which banned him over a positive test for nandrolone in June last year, only to suspend the sanction pending an appeal and further investigations.

But Fury must also convince the British Boxing Board of Control that he deserves to win back his boxing licence, which was stripped after his admission he had taken a recreational drug, as well as subsequent mental health concerns.

Fury's promoter Frank Warren said: "He has been having treatment and the view is that after nearly 18 months now he is mentally fit to resume training.

"The bottom line is we believe and hope the treatment has been successful and hopefully he gets his licence back because it is good for him to earn money as a boxer, but more importantly it is good for his health and well-being that he has something going for him in his life.

"Provided Tyson is OK he has said he would like to fight on July 8. There's no problem arranging that, but the most important thing is he's 100 per cent mentally well before he gets back in the ring."

If Fury does win his case with UKAD, the return of his licence will be no mere formality, with the BBBC expected to take some time to consider a number of factors before deciding whether to allow him to fight again.

Warren added that ideally Fury would have a number of warm-up bouts before facing Joshua, despite the former champion's claim he was so unimpressed with Joshua's win over Klitschko that he could fight and beat him without a warm-up.

Warren added: "I honestly do believe that it will not be long before he gets his belts back - he's head and shoulders above all the other heavyweights in the world at the moment.

"You look at the performance of Anthony Joshua which was brave, heroic and very, very exiting - but the difference in how they handled Klitschko was vast and Tyson was far superior."

SAUL 'Canelo' Alvarez will take on middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in Las Vegas on September 16.

Alvarez announced the bout immediately after his comfortable points victory over compatriot Julio Chavez jnr on Saturday evening at the T-Mobile Arena.

Alvarez extended his record to 49-1-1 in a dominant display where he targeted the body of Chavez jnr and all three judges voted in favour of the 26-year-old, with 120-108 on the scorecards, while Golovkin watched at ringside.

The Mexican will take on an undefeated Golovkin, who has a perfect record from his 37 bouts, with 33 victories coming by the way of knockout, in the highly-anticipated fight.

The venue has not been announced, but Alvarez confirmed that the Ukrainian's WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles will be on the line for the September clash.

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