Joe Joyce aimed to secure his place in the semi final of his first Olympic Games in the Super Heavyweight category against towering Uzbek and fellow World Championship Bronze Medallist Bahodir Jalolov who was his nation’s flag bearer in his first Olympic Games.
The number three seed Joyce started fast versus his taller opponent, targeting the body with thumping blows and having success from the opening stages of the bout. Jalolov took his cue to try and box on the back foot and began to briefly jab with good effect but Joyce’s intelligent pressure with the feet forced the Uzbek to the ropes and backed him into corners where Joyce was given almost free reign to work away downstairs at the torso of the towering Jalolov. He continued to sink thudding uppercuts into the Uzbeks stomach and forced him grimacing backwards and the end of the round. All judges scored it in favour of Joyce 10-9.
Round two began with Joyce picking up where he had left off, applying the same sustained pressure except with greater pace as he worked his way up the gears of his unique engine at super heavyweight. The Uzbek fighter found keeping Joyce away from his torso getting increasingly difficulty as the round wore on. By the final minute Jalolov looked deflated as Joyce unloaded heavy punches to the now battered sides of Jalolov’s rib cage who wilted to the canvas after a menacing combination from Joyce. The referee however deemed it a slip and the action continued again with Joyce on the front foot forcing himself through the Uzbek with his strength and sheer force of will. A completely dominant round was evident as the judges scored it 10-9 again for Joe Joyce who now had one foot into the Semi Finals and a place on the podium.
The final round of the quarter final began with Joyce unloading a rapid seven punch combination from the centre of the ring highlighting his tremendous abilities of endurance that forced the referee to intervene and issue a standing eight count to the Uzbeki boxer after only twenty seconds had elapsed of the round. After the boxing resumed, Joyce was again using his intelligent lateral movement to cut off the escape routes that Jalolov was trying to find, and marauded forward with pleasure when he had his man with his back touching the perimeter. His marauding tactics paid back dividends as further body shots against the ropes lead the now weary Uzbek to take a second count in the final moments of the bout, who had been wilting under the pressure and was visibly exhausted. At the ring of the final bell, Joyce lifted his arms in celebration as he knew he had forced his way onto the medal podium. A terrific and dominant display was rewarded by the judges with a unanimous decision victory and takes him through to the semi finals.
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