JOE JOYCE has claimed fellow heavyweight rival Luis Ortiz turned down a fight with him because he didn't 'want the smoke'.
The 36-year-old Brit is currently awaiting his world title opportunity after his win over Daniel Dubois last year put him in the position as mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua's WBO strap.
But Joyce, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games, is having to be patient as Joshua prepares to fight Oleksandr Usyk this Saturday night and then potentially Tyson Fury.
As a result, Joyce is having to stay active, with his last fight coming in a sixth round stoppage of Carlos Takam in July.
Speaking to iFL TV, he said: "I’m just training, waiting for my fight date, and I should be out before the end of the year. Working on things in the gym, getting stronger, fitter, ready for a world title shot soon coming to you.
“That was an option [to fight Joseph Parker], but he’s obviously now going to fight Derek Chisora, and there were a few more names.
“[Luis] Ortiz was mentioned, but I’m not sure he wants the smoke. But there are other names around the area. We’ll see what we can get.
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"The better person to talk to would be Adam or Sam [Joyce's managers]. In the back of my mind, that’s what I can remember as the opponents."
When asked directly whether Ortiz turned down a fight against him, Joyce then added: “Yeah. He didn’t want a war."
Cuban Ortiz has won 32 of his 34 professional fights, with his only defeats coming at the hands of Deontay Wilder.
Ex-world champion Wilder, who is facing Fury for the third time on October 9, knocked Ortiz out in the tenth round of their 2018 fight.
They then rematched at the end of 2019, with Wilder stopping him in the seventh round.
Meanwhile, Arsenal fan Joyce also revealed he wants to take on Joshua at the Emirates Stadium in London.
When that idea was put to him, he simply said: “That’s the plan.”
Joshua is taking on Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the ground which homes Arsenal's rivals Spurs.
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