Joe Joyce vs. Carlos Takam
SSE Arena, Wembley, England 24/7/21
Joe Joyce has identified the ideal venue to stage his world title tilt, should he be successful in seeing off the challenge of Carlos Takam in their heavyweight showdown at the SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday.
Joyce’s field of dreams is still in North London, but further round the North Circular at the Emirates Stadium, home of his footballing favourites Arsenal FC.
Victory on Saturday will ensure the 35-year-old remains at the head of the queue to take on the winner of the forthcoming Anthony Joshua-Oleksandr Usyk battle pencilled in for September.
With Joshua/Usyk now official, Joyce has been confirmed as the first WBO mandatory challenger for the winner.
Joyce would love to lure whoever emerges as WBO champion to N7 to unleash his own Arsenal on the champion.
“That would be a great one for the history books and there is a first time for everything,” said the heavyweight force, who would relish being the first to headline on the hallowed Emirates turf.
“The Emirates is an amazing stadium, so I am looking forward to it happening hopefully.”
Big fights, of course, have been staged at football grounds across London and the country, with Upton Park, Loftus Road, the old White Hart Lane, Elland Road and Old Trafford among the stadiums to host the noble art.
Arsenal’s previous ground, Highbury, was the venue for another major sporting event that took place in 1966, when Muhammad Ali fought Henry Cooper for a second time.
Since this time, the home of Arsenal has been strictly football.
Joyce visited the stadium today ahead of his big night on Saturday to perhaps get a feel of what might be should he continue to successfully hunt down a shot at a world title belt.
Even though Joyce is typically associated with Putney, north of the capital isn’t so far away from his place of birth.
“I actually started off in East London and was born in Mile End. I lived with both my parents in Bethnal Green before they split up and my mum moved to Hackney, then Leytonstone, before we went south to Putney when I was six.
“I got to go to Highbury sometimes when one of my uncles took me because my dad wasn’t into football much so I didn’t get the chance to follow as closely as I would have liked.
“The first game I watched – I can’t remember how old I was, but I was pretty young at the time – was an Arsenal-Liverpool game in the era of Ian Wright and David Seaman.
“I have always been an Arsenal fan since school and soon I am getting to do a fishing show soon with my childhood heroes Wright and Seaman.”
(by Kristian von Sponneck)
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