By Michael Benson
Joe Joyce stands today as one of heavyweight boxing’s top contenders and deservedly so.
The Juggernaut has a well-earned reputation is a relentless fighter with an incredible engine and an even more remarkable chin.
Joyce’s durability was put to the test once again on Saturday night as he faced former world champion Joseph Parker.
The Brit walked through the New Zealander’s biggest punches, barely blinking as he fired back every time he was hit.
In the end, Joyce KOd Parker in round 11 to set himself up for a world title shot.
This is not the first time he has proven his toughness either, having previously stopped the highly rated power-punching prospect Daniel Dubois after taking his hardest shots without ever being hurt.
This has of course raised the question – what would it take to actually hurt Joyce?
As a fully fledged heavyweight in his prime, it’s possible that not even Deontay Wilder could put a dent in him.
However, in his younger days, Joyce was knocked out as an amateur.
BoxRec amateur records are always incomplete due to the sporadic nature of the sport at that level, but they do have three listings of Joyce suffering stoppage defeats.
The most recent of these came in 2013 as little-known Algerian Hamza Beguerni shocked Joyce at the World Championships.
There is no video of this bout, but it’s reported that Beguerni came flying out at the first bell and landed big shots which forced two standing eight counts for Joyce.
A huge right hook ended the contest as the referee called a halt within the first round.
In Joyce’s amateur stoppage defeats, this appears to be a familiar pattern.
Earlier in 2013, he was knocked out by Russia’s Sergey Kuzmin in just 34 seconds.
Video footage of this bout does exist and shows that once again Joyce was overwhelmed from the opening bell.
A flurry of punches from Kuzmin saw the Brit receive a standing count.
He was allowed to resume, but found himself floored with a huge right hand not long later, prompting the referee to stop the contest.
Prior to this, the only time on record that Joyce lost by stoppage came back in 2011 to none other than Anthony Joshua.
“I had to fight twice [in one day],” Joyce recalled to Boxing Block Centre as he described the bout.
“I had to fight this guy Dominic, and he turned southpaw for some reason.
“Joshua already watched me fight this other guy, he was just chilling and waiting.
“When I was fighting the southpaw, you have to put your foot on the outside of their front foot, so I was going round to the left.
“And then when I fought Joshua, I was still going round to the left, so I was walking into his right hand.
“So I got hit with a shot and all the crowd goes, ‘Woaaaaah.’ And the ref jumped in, ‘One, two, three.’
“I was fine, but it happened three times and I was like, ‘What’s going on?’
“The ref was like, ‘That’s it,’ because I got three counts in the first round and you can only have three counts.
“So I lost the fight. I was like, ‘What happened?’”
Of course, these amateur defeats from 2011 and 2013 mean little in 2022.
While it’s interesting to look back to a time when Joyce could be stopped, it also shows just how far the Juggernaut has come.
Now, only the heavyweight elite stand a chance against Joyce and in 2023 his world title opportunity will surely arrive.