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Heavyweight Joe Joyce makes first Commonwealth title defence

BATTLE: Joe Joyce

COMMONWEALTH HEAVYWEIGHT Champion Joe Joyce will defend his title and unbeaten record against Ghanaian powerhouse Richard Lartey at the home of London boxing, The York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Friday 15 June.

The ‘Juggernaut', from Putney in south-west London, moves fast to make the first defence of the title that he won only last month at London’s O2 Arena with a devastating second round KO of Lenroy Thomas.

In registering that stunning victory, Joyce became the first ever heavyweight boxer to win the prestigious Commonwealth title in just his fourth fight - and with only 12 professional rounds under his belt.

The 2016 Olympic silver medallist made an explosive entry into the professional ranks last October with an eighth round stoppage of the experienced and former British title challenger Ian Lewison.

He followed that up that unheralded debut win with two explosive first round victories this year against Rudolf Jozic in February and then Donnie Palmer in March before facing experienced 21-4 Thomas a tricky southpaw.

Joyce, 32, now faces a stern test against the big-punching Lartey, who fights out of Ghana’s legendary fighting city of Accra that has produced some of Africa’s greatest ever boxers including Azumah Nelson and Ike Quartey.

The 6ft 5in Lartey, previously the Ghanaian Heavyweight Champion, holds a 13-fight record with 12 wins, nine coming by way of knockout and he likes to end fights early with five of those big KOs coming inside the second round.

He challenged for the WBC Youth Silver Heavyweight title in December 2014 which resulted in his sole career loss, but has remained undefeated in six fights since.

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