ANTHONY JOSHUA would "ping Joe Joyce absolutely everywhere" if the two British heavyweights came to blows, promoter Eddie Hearn has claimed.
Joyce, 37, suffered his first professional defeat on Saturday night as a sixth-round doctor's stoppage saw him beaten by China's Zhilei Zhang.
The loss leaves the Olympic silver medallist's world title ambitions in tatters as he has now relinquished his WBO interim crown.
Meanwhile, Olympic champion Joshua returned from back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk with a points win over Jermaine Franklin earlier this month.
And AJ's promoter Hearn believes a clash with Joyce would be a one-sided beatdown.
Speaking to iFL TV, he said: "If you can't beat Zhilei Zhang, you have absolutely no chance of winning a world heavyweight title, no chance.
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"If Oleksandr Usyk had boxed Joyce on Saturday night it would've been one of the greatest mismatches of all time.
"If Zhilei Zhang is doing that to him, Usyk would have absolutely peppered him.
"The reality is Joe Joyce is not an elite heavyweight. And you can talk about 'Oh he'd steamroll Anthony Joshua', do you know the speed of AJ compare to Zhang? AJ would ping him absolutely everywhere."
Joshua and Joyce sparred hundreds of rounds together as amateurs in GB's Olympic set-up.
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And a clash between the two would still drum up huge interest despite Joyce's recent defeat.
However, Hearn went on to speculate that Joyce could decide to hang up the gloves following the Zhang setback.
He added: "He gets hit by absolutely everything, Joe Joyce. I would understand if he retired from boxing.
"He's taken unbelievable punishment in sparring, in amateur tournaments and even in the professional code and it was really uncomfortable watching that on Saturday."
Joyce has a rematch clause to face Zhang for a second time if he decides to take the fight.
Speaking on social media after his loss, he said: "Before you all write me off I'm OK just got a bruised eye. I think I'll be OK, as fights go I'm in good health.
"Not a great performance however, but I'll go back to the drawing board and have to improve.
"Zhang was the better fighter on the night, but I still think I can beat him, even though he's a strong contender."
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