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Joe Joyce celebrates debut with hard-fought win over Ian Lewison

Joe "Juggernaut" Joyce won silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic games. Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Hayemaker Ringstar

Joe Joyce marked his professional debut with a hard-fought victory by stopping Ian Lewison in eight rounds.

The Olympic silver medallist, unusually first matched against a proven opponent over a scheduled 10 rounds, was largely dominant but struggled to find the authoritative knockout he would have hoped for at London's Indigo at the 02 Arena.

At 32 he has turned professional at a relatively mature age but in joining Britain's competitive heavyweight division can pursue numerous options, which may partly explain being fast-tracked into the Lewison match-up.

He was instantly aggressive, almost immediately landing a right hand but showing he retains the defensive flaws of his amateur days when he quickly took one in exchange. Amid further eye-catching punches, the determined Lewison also threw multiple hooks and forced Joyce to fight with more authority in the second.

Joyce then fought largely behind the jab while his opponent battled in bursts, but in the third Lewison landed a left hook that hurt the younger fighter. He responded by forcing Lewison back again with the jab, then targeting the body and succeeding with a powerful left hook.

He thereafter took increasing control of the fight's pace and range, landing a hurtful left uppercut, and - while Lewison remained resilient - he began to show signs of being broken down before, at the end of the fourth, appearing to turn on his ankle.

Despite Joyce's obviously superior class, and Lewison's vision limited by the swelling by his right eye, he appeared to stop pursuing the stoppage until the eighth, when Lewison hit the canvas after losing his footing as he took a left hand.

Referee Bob Williams did not rule it a knockdown, but another heavy-handed combination then forced Lewison back onto the ropes and his trainer Don Charles threw in the towel after two minutes and 35 seconds.

There was earlier a victory for fellow debutant Michael 'Venom' Page, best known for his 12 victories from 12 as a mixed martial artist. Fighting at light-heavyweight, he stopped Spain's little-known Jonathan Castano 45 seconds into the third round with an explosive right hand.