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Joe is a fine arts graduate ...and a noble art knockout.

Byline: BARRY McGUIGAN He's back... the greatest boxing expert on the planet @ClonesCyclone

LONDONER Joe Joyce - groomed to follow Anthony Joshua to the Olympic super-heavyweight title in Rio next year - has made a big statement by taking gold at the inaugural European Games in Baku.

Joe is a lovely fella, a fine arts graduate, who came to the sport late, at the age of 19, with a nice line in backflips to celebrate victory.

He might just be cartwheeling home after taking down Russia's highly-rated Gasan Gimbatov in the final with a sensational performance.

Gimbatov was taken to hospital as a precaution after the fight, so we wish him well.

Joyce will be 30 in Brazil, older in general terms, but not unusual in the amateurs, where, historically, the Cubans and Eastern Europeans fought well into their thirties in the absence of professional opportunities.

Joshua (below) is a tough act to follow, a big explosive athlete.

Those fast-twitch muscles of his propel him across 100m in 11 seconds. That's properly quick.

Joe is more about endurance and stamina, not as fast as Joshua, but still impressively strong and throws heavy combinations.

Though Joshua has run through his opponents in a couple of rounds, not every fight will be over early and the test for him will be coping when his stamina is tested.

To be able to go halfa-dozen rounds at a fair pelt is tough.

This, ultimately, is Joe's great attribute.

Jo We have had him at the gym with us in Battersea, working with my son Shane. We liked what we saw.

It has been another fine campaign for British boxers ahead of the World Championships in Doha in October. Nicola Adams, (who else?) won gold at flyweight.

Another girl with a big future, Sandy Ryan, a box fighter, won bronze, losing out to the girl who beat her at the Worlds last year, champion Anastasia Beliakova.

The Irish boys produced four medallists, the pick of whom has been Brendan Irvine, from the St Paul's Club in Andersonstown, a beautiful boxer, who lost out on gold to Bator Sagaluev.

Irvine's emergence is a dilemma for the Irish because he fights in the same light-flyweight division as double Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes, who has already qualified for the Olympics.

As ever at elite level, the standards are sky high and the difference between winning and losing often measured in fractions.

Joe had to come from behind to take gold, which is as much about fighting spirit as talent.

And, believe me, he has plenty of both.

CAPTION(S):

prize winning canvas Talented artist Joyce celebrates his gold in Baku yesterday with a trademark backflip

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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2015
Words:445
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