Unfortunately for the South African his best looks to be behind him. He might only be 31 but he's clearly not the fighter he once was. He's no longer the fighter who dominated Florante Condes or defeated Katsunari Takayama instead he's the man who ran out of gas against Mario Rodriguez and the guy who lost in a major domestic clash with Hekkie Budler. Of course Joyi may put those losses down to struggling to make weight though to us he's just not the same fighter.
On February 1st one man hoping that Joyi really has faded will be Filipino Rey Loreto (17-13, 9), a man who will be given next to no chance against Joyi when they meet in Monte Carlo for the IBO Light Flyweight title.
The 23 year old Loreto is, like many Filipino boxers, a man with more losses than his talent perhaps deserves. Unfortunately he picked up many of those losses very early in his career and since then has developed significantly from the fighter he once was.
Loreto debuted back in 2008 when he was just 17. Within a year of his debut he was 0-4 having dropped 4 decisions. Although things did get better for Loreto he wasn't well looked after by a promoter and by the summer of 2011 he was 8-11, his career looked like that of a career journeyman and he was treat like one being sent to Thailand to face Yodngoen Tor Chalermchai, Paipharob Kokietgym and Noknoi Sitthiprasert who between them were 51-4.
Surprisingly Loreto has really turned his career around with 9 wins in his last 11 bouts including a stoppage over Wisanu Kokietgym and a technical decision over Pornsawan Porpramook. The only losses in those 11 fights have come to Atsushi Kakutani and Benezer Alolod, both in very close decisions that Loreto could well have won.
Young, hungry, improving and maturing Loreto a lot more dangerous than his record would suggest. Sure he's not an exceptionally talented but he's a man who has improved so much over the last few years that both the WBA and WBC rank him as amongst the in the world.
For Joyi this bout is one that he's supposed to win. There is no way he's expecting to lose, though the same could be said for his bout with Rodriguez. He was supposed to go over Mexico and destroy an over-matched Mexican, instead however Joyi started well then imploded. The Rodriguez bout was Joyi's only previous bout outside of South Africa and he was unable to fight for 12 rounds he has been able to in the past. Yes the conditions in Monte Carlo and Mexico are different but those memories will haunt him and with Loreto managing to win his last 2 bouts outside of his homeland he'll be confident.
Joyi at his best would beat Loreto. We're confident of that. A man who can beat Condes and Takayama can beat Loreto. Joyi isn't at his best any more, he's 31, has had his confidence destroyed by 2 losses in his last 4 bouts and although still talented isn't the destructive fighter he once was. The South African will still be favoured, of course he will, but then again Loreto was also the under-dog against Pornsawan and Wisanu, he's a man who enjoys being the under-dog and will be hoping to prove, once again, that this dog bites.
This bout will be on the same card as Gennady Golovkin's upcoming WBA Middleweight title defense against Osumanu Adama.