The all-London 10-round heavyweight contest will mark 31-year-old Joyce’s much-anticipated professional debut, with the show being televised live in the UK on Dave – the first of five set dates on the channel for Hayemaker Ringstar over the next three years.
Commenting on his decision to match Joyce with a seasoned and respected pro in his first fight since turning over, Haye was adamant that he had made the right choice.
“This is a genuine, real fight, but I don’t believe we’ve given him too much,” Haye stated. “In our opinion, a six-rounder wouldn’t have been beneficial for Joe, as he comes on strong in the later rounds. He’s sparred hundreds of rounds with Anthony Joshua, and he’s recently sparred Hughie Fury and Nathan Gorman. Tomorrow he’s flying out to Las Vegas to spar Bermane Stiverne. Joe’s the future of the heavyweight division.”
For his part, Joyce accepts that he is “going in at the deep end”, but remains hugely confident, as he is “a good swimmer”. The 6ft 6in colossus said: “I’ve got a challenging opponent in Ian Lewison, but it’s exciting stuff. I’m known for my energy. I’m an experienced fighter – I’ve fought in the WSB and I’ve been to many major tournaments as an amateur. I’ve got the heart, engine, focus and determination.”
Although he is thrilled to be facing Joyce on live TV, Lewison revealed that he “took it as an insult” when he was offered the chance to be the opponent for a debutant – albeit a highly decorated one.
“[Joyce] is not going to get into his rhythm, because I’m going to lay him out before he even gets going,” Lewison warned.
Also on the bill, Galway-born Shepherd’s Bush-based southpaw John O’Donnell defends his English welterweight title against Reading’s Tamuka Mucha.
Meanwhile, two other Hayemaker Ringstar fighters – both of them super-middleweights – will make their pro bows. Former mixed martial artist/kickboxer Michael “Venom” Page and ex-Scottish amateur standout Willie Hutchison will take to the ring for the first time in the paid ranks, in separate bouts.
Hutchison, who was crowned World Youth champion in the unpaid code last year, declared that “everyone is going to see what I’m all about” when he has his maiden pro outing, while Page described himself as “the show-stealer”, before stating: “I fight how I fight – by doing damage and putting on a show, all with a smile on my face.”
Haye is clearly excited about the potential of both men. “Will is only young – he’s just turned 19 years old – but he’s recently been over in Hamburg sparring some of the top elite senior amateurs in the world. He reminds me of a young Joe Calzaghe,” Haye enthused.
“As for Michael, he wants to be a genuine world champion in boxing – not just a novelty. He has all the attributes to succeed in the sport.”