John Joyce says the cautious approach of his trainer and manager Tony Davitt is paying dividends as he enters into his second year as a professional boxer.
The Lucan welterweight fights for the sixth time on Saturday, June 16 on the Celtic Clash 6 card at Good Counsel GAA Club in Drimnagh and, had it not been for his caring manager, he could have found himself in over his head.
The possibility of a BUI Celtic title shot had been floated versus experienced champion Jay Byrne – who has fought multiple times on television won the belt last year when he knocked out Joyce’s team-mate Crank Whitehouse.
Being a fighter, Joyce, unsurprisingly, was up for the challenge but was, wisely, reined in by Davitt.
31-year-old Joyce, a refreshingly open and honest character in a sport of bravado and secrecy, explained how: “Tony and myself have had a few chats about it. Obviously, I would take a title fight now if I could.
“Jay suggested a title fight and I would love that but Tony thinks it’s too soon. I’m still inexperienced and a novice pro so he wants me to have an eight rounder before any title fights. Who knows maybe after that but I understand and listen to everything Tony tells me.”
The two share a close relationship, with Davitt being the man to pluck Joyce – then an unknown amateur – from obscurity and turn him pro.
Since debuting in May last year, the Dubliner has scored five wins, including three knockouts, and was one of the stand-out prospects from an unprecedented year where almost 40 new boxers turned pro.
The Irish Army corporal credits Davitt for everything and described how “Tony has been so good to me and has been like a second dad. I trust him completely, nobody else would have given me the shot he has so what he says goes even if I don’t like it!”
Davitt is old-school, a septuagenarian, and is not adverse to doling out tough love. This was apparent in Joyce’s most recent fight in March versus Tomasz Goluch where, following two sloppy rounds, the coach gave Joyce a wake-up call.
“Tony gave me a smack, a full force smack, at the end of the second round and, I’m not going to lie, it woke me up,” Joyce recalls with a smirk.
“I went out in the third round like he told me to do and I put him away. I needed that slap to wake me up! That wasn’t my best performance, at all. I feel I could have done a lot better.”
This journey continues on June 16 in Dublin 12 and ‘The Demogorgon’ outlined how “Tony has the opponent – but I don’t mind who I face as long as I get a good fight and I learn as much as I can from it.
“I treat every fight as a world title fight and this won’t be any different. I will win. We will see on the night how it plays out but a win for me is my prediction.”
Also featuring on the Celtic Clash 6 undercard alongside Joyce will be Crumlin super featherweight Aiden Metcalfe, and a BUI Celtic super bantamweight title fight between Jobstown’s Carl McDonald and olin O’Donovan.
Tickets for the fight night are priced at €55 (ringside), €35 (unreserved) and are available from the boxers involved. John Joyce can be contacted at 086 1900 203.