BT Sport Fight Night Live - Heaney vs FlatleyMar 26
Joyce vs Parker - Who will the winner fight next?
Joe Joyce clashed with Joseph Parker for the WBO interim heavyweight world title on a pulsating night of boxing in Manchester - but who will the winner fight next?
Joe Joyce produced a career-best performance to secure the WBO interim heavyweight world title, becoming the first man ever to stop Joseph Parker following an exhilarating heavyweight war in Manchester.
'The Juggernaut' lived up to his moniker in frightening fashion as he absorbed punch after punch from a spirited Parker, walking through fire to pepper Parker with concussive shots to leave the New Zealander's face a bloody, swollen mess on his way to securing a highlight reel finish.
That came midway through the 11th round as Parker's lionhearted resistance was finally broken when Joyce clubbed a huge left hook through a tired guard to send Parker tumbling to the canvas.
The former WBO world champion tried in vain to beat the count but in the end he was saved from what may have been an even more damaging conclusion to the fight as the referee waved off the contest with a wobbly Parker struggling to regain his balance in the corner.
Victory secured Joyce the biggest major title of his professional career, effectively confirming his status as the mandatory challenger to the incumbent champion, Oleksandr Usyk.
Whether that fight happens next remains to be seen given rumours of a potential showdown between Tyson Fury and Usyk for all the heavyweight belts in early 2023.
If that fight does materialise, Joyce will be waiting in the wings and ordered to face the winner.
But Joyce's position as the newly-crowned interim champion also means that if the full world title is vacated or stripped from the holder in the near future, Joyce will be automatically upgraded to champion and successor to the throne.
Fury himself may also be a potential opponent for Joyce given the Gypsy King's continued frustration in trying to finalise fights against Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
Given both men fight under the Queensberry Boxing banner, it doesn't appear that there would be too many obstacles in making that contest a reality.
"Of course I'd like to fight Usyk next for the WBO title," Joyce told BT Sport in the aftermath of his win last night.
"I've heard Fury might be interested in a fight too, that would be a lot of fun.
"I've sparred Fury in Big Bear [California] and I can see the levels [he's fighting at]. It would be tough but I'm up for the challenge."
Reflecting on the incredible contest during an interview in the ring, Hall of Fame promoter and Queensberry boss Frank Warren said: "What an amazing heavyweight fight, it was fought at such a high pace and both of them gave their all.
"Joe came through, The Juggernaut - and he showed why he's called The Juggernaut too. He took some tremendous shots himself but at the end of the day I knew he'd get there.
"I was surprised at how fast he came out in the opening rounds, he came out and really took the fight to Parker but hats off to Parker, he's a tough guy, a brave warrior. But you know what? We've got a new kid on the block here.
"He's getting better and better, he's like a fine wine. He's getting better with age, there's no doubt about that. Now he's in a great spot. He's the mandatory challenger to the WBO title against Oleksandr Usyk and we're going to move heaven and Earth to make sure he gets a shot at the world title next year.
"Obviously there's talk of Usyk and Tyson Fury but Joe is now firmly in a position to fight for a world title next year - and that will be in the UK."
Joyce entered the ring to a slightly more muted reception than the popular Parker, whose sizeable entourage made themselves known from all corners of the AO Arena as the Kiwi made his slow walk to the ring.
But the Brit certainly won over the hearts and minds of any detractors after an incredible display of skill, heart and determination.
In an interview with iD boxing, he said: "What a warrior Joe Parker is. What a fight, too. I hit him with everything, love to him and his family.
"Get him back to New Zealand because he put everything into that fight and he hung in there with me.
"I feel good and I enjoyed it, that was a tough fight."
The beaten Parker was magnanimous in defeat despite a punishing night that will prove to be a significant setback to his world championship aspirations.
"At this stage in my career, Joe Joyce was the toughest challenge," he said.
"As you guys saw tonight, the pressure that he put on and every time I hit him, he kept coming back, we knew exactly what he was going to do. But everything didn't work as I thought it would. But hey, it's boxing.
"He's very tough. You guys saw tonight, he puts on a lot of pressure. Congratulations to him, he's a hell of a fighter."