Joe Joyce leaves it late to knock out Kash Ali in unconvincing return to winning ways

A tenth-round knockout of Kash Ali got Joe Joyce back to winning ways in the boxing ring as the heavyweight took it steady at the start of his latest quest to threaten the world title belts.

Joyce, at his heaviest-ever weight of 20st 6lbs, was able to get on the front foot against Ali but clearly lacked the confidence to deliver big shot expected of him in the early rounds.

Perhaps that was of little surprise given the nature of his double-defeat to Zhilei Zhang but it took until the seventh round for Joyce’s corner to spark him into action and deliver a sustained flurry of blows to his opponent.

That finally began to pierce the armour of 32-year-old Ali, who had never previously been stopped during a 23-fight career of which the most notable contest came with a disqualification for biting David Price four years ago.

Body shots drained Ali’s tank but Joyce’s efforts remained wayward and his movement somewhat ponderous as his tiring opponent took shelter for the final rounds.

The shattered Birmingham boxer, with a bloodied mouth, managed to survive until the tenth and final round - and even squared up Joyce’s jaw with a right hook as the barrage continued.

In the final 30 seconds, Joyce drilled a right jab through Ali’s defences to finally send him tumbling to the canvas and claim the most eventual of knockouts.

After Joyce’s uncertain win, Liam Davies became the new IBO super-bantamweight world champion after a blistering early knockout of Mexico’s Erik Robles Ayala.

In the main event in Birmingham, Nathan Heaney retained his British middleweight title after a thrilling draw with Brad Pauls.