THE RESULT: After labouring through nine rounds in the company of Kash Ali, Joe Joyce finally found the finish he was looking for at the two minutes and 57 seconds mark of round 10 tonight (March 16) in Birmingham. As many had expected, it wasn’t pretty to observe, yet Joyce, coming off back-to-back defeats against Zhilei Zhang, will feel entitled to have a fight like this just to shake off the cobwebs and restore some confidence. He would be right to think that way, too.

KEY MOMENTS: As if often the case in Joe Joyce fights, many of the biggest eye-catching shots were landed by his opponent. In fact, Kash Ali managed to land several huge right hands on the jaw and head of Joyce throughout the 10 rounds they shared, and yet, such is Joyce’s toughness, never once was the Londoner slowed down, much less hurt. Worse, for Ali, was the image of Joyce then marauding forward and coming back with punches of his own. This he did whenever Ali nailed him with a right and the accumulation of these shots certainly played a part in the way Joyce was able to chop Ali to the canvas with the finish line in sight.

RECORDS: Joyce, 38, moves his pro record to 16-2 (15), while Ali, 31, falls to 21-3 (12).

TALKING POINT: While one can see the sense in having Joyce come in heavy and use his weight to suffocate his opponent, the only thing tougher than watching Joyce fight light is watching him fight heavy. Tonight, for instance, with him six pounds heavier than he was when he boxed Zhilei Zhang last year, Joyce was seemingly operating in slow motion at times. His punches, never exactly quick or unpredictable, were telegraphed to an almost comical degree tonight and, as a result, Ali was able to brace himself and see them coming.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: Ideally, Joyce gets lighter. That would be a start. Then, after that, he can begin looking at improving his level of competition and getting back among the best in the world. At 38, he doesn’t have a lot of time to waste on opponents like Kash Ali, even though Ali undoubtedly served a purpose tonight and was a decent choice given Joyce’s two fights – and defeats – against Zhang. Ali, if nothing else, had never previously been stopped and provided Joyce with 10 rounds which will stand him in good stead going forward.