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Joe Joyce secures knockout victory in final seconds of his bout against Kash Ali… in unconvincing return to action after back-to-back defeats by Zhilei Zhang last year

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  • Joyce laboured to a much-needed victory against Ali in Birmingham last night 
  • He fell out of title contention after back-to-back losses to Zhang last year 
  • Joyce sent Ali to the canvas with seven seconds left remaining in the fight

Joe Joyce secured a much-needed victory in unconvincing fashion against Kash Ali in Birmingham on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old, who lost his unbeaten record in back-to-back losses to Zhilei Zhang last year, was expected to make light work of his opponent last night.

But Joyce had to be patient as he struggled to finish off Ali, who put in a solid effort against the heavy favourite.

With just seven seconds remaining of the tenth and final round, a right hand sent Ali to the canvas for the first time in the bout. 

Ali got to his feet, but was too slow to do so, handing Joyce a knockout victory. 

Joe Joyce left it late to secure a knockout victory over Kash Ali on Saturday night

Joe Joyce left it late to secure a knockout victory over Kash Ali on Saturday night 

Joyce sent Ali to the canvas in the final seconds of the bout to secure the KO victory

Joyce sent Ali to the canvas in the final seconds of the bout to secure the KO victory

He was making his return to the ring after back-to-back KO defeats to Zhilei Zhang

He was making his return to the ring after back-to-back KO defeats to Zhilei Zhang

Ali entered the fight having fought just twice since 2021 due to injury, having also previously served a six-month ban in 2019 for biting David Price.

The victory lifts Joyce to a 16-2 record as he hopes to be challenging the big names in heavyweight boxing again in the future. 

Joyce had been unbeaten going into 2023 and appeared to be on the cusp of a title fight against Oleksandr Usyk.

Going into the fight, he called it a ‘fork in the road’ having gone from being next in line to challenge for Usyk’s WBO title to being on the undercard at Resorts World Arena in Birmingham last night. 

Joyce was made to work hard against Ali who has fought just twice since 2021

Joyce was made to work hard against Ali who has fought just twice since 2021

He looked to be next-in-line to face Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title before his defeats to Zhang last year

He looked to be next-in-line to face Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO title before his defeats to Zhang last year

But the Juggernaught took a fight with Zhang which saw him stunned inside six rounds due to damage to his eye, before being being brutally knocked out in the rematch.

His victory came on a card headlined by Nathan Heaney’s clash with Brad Pauls for the British middleweight title.

Heaney retained his title despite being held to a split draw in an exciting main event.