Due to a serious wrist injury, it has been almost a year since we last saw the ‘Juggernaut’ inside a boxing ring, when he stopped the durable veteran Carlos Takam inside six rounds at Wembley Arena last July.
Now the undefeated Joyce, 13-0 as a professional with 12 knockouts, is back at the same venue for a tune-up meeting with Hammer as he looks to send an emphatic message in the heavyweight division and successfully defend his WBC silver and WBO international titles in the process.
The 36-year-old has been unable to push on since his stunning surprise victory over domestic rival Daniel Dubois in November 2020, though was installed as the mandatory challenger for the full WBO title held by Oleksandr Usyk.
If the winner of Usyk’s August rematch against Anthony Joshua does not end up in a mammoth and lucrative undisputed showdown with Tyson Fury, then Joyce will likely demand that he is near the front of the queue as the next title challenger.
A more high-profile contest against Joseph Parker looked to be in the offing for the 2016 Olympic silver medalist later this summer, only for the New Zealander to agree terms on a promotional deal with BOXXER and Sky Sports.
Instead it’s a far more low-key occasion against Hammer, the Romanian-German who has nine losses on his record from 36 pro bouts.
Hammer has fought twice this year already, losing a decision to Cuban star Frank Sanchez in January before blasting out Drazen Zanjanin inside the first round in Berlin in May.
The 34-year-old is best known on these shores for defeats by the likes of Fury cousins Tyson and Hughie, while the seasoned campaigner also has wins over Danny Williams, Michael Sprott and David Price on his CV, as well as losses to Luis Ortiz and Alexander Povetkin.
The former German and European champion will find himself a massive underdog in London this weekend.
Joyce vs Hammer date, start time, venue and ring walks
Joyce vs Hammer takes place on Saturday July 2, 2022 at Wembley Arena in north-west London.
The televised undercard is due to begin at 7pm BST, with ring walks for the main event expected after 10:15pm.
As ever, those timings are subject to change, depending on the length of the undercard fights.
Joyce vs Hammer fight card/undercard in full
Joe Joyce vs Christian Hammer
Jason Cunningham vs Zolani Tete
Callum Johnson vs Igor Mikhalkin
Nathan Heaney vs Nizar Trimech
Mark Chamberlain vs Marc Vidal
Micky Burke vs Serge Ambomo
Henry Turner vs Jakub Laskowski
Tommy Fletcher vs Darryl Sharp
Arnold Obodai vs TBC
How to watch Joyce vs Hammer
TV channel: In the UK, Joyce vs Hammer is being broadcast live on BT Sport 1, with coverage beginning at 7pm.
Live stream: Subscribers can also watch the action live online via the BT Sport website or app.
Joyce vs Hammer fight prediction
Joyce will be eager to make up for lost time after recovering from that wrist injury and announce his return to form in style.
He insists he can be a major threat to the likes of Usyk, Fury and Joshua moving forward, but has sadly lost the momentum since that Dubois upset.
Joyce turns 37 in September and cannot afford any more lengthy delays, though those heavyweight titles could be tied up for another couple of years yet.
An emphatic early victory here against a vastly overmatched opponent seems an absolute must if he wants to secure some high-profile fights in the mean time.
Joyce to win by quick knockout.
Joyce vs Hammer weigh-in results
Joyce tipped the scales on Friday at 265.9lbs. That is heavier than Hammer, who weighed in at 263lbs.
Joyce vs Hammer betting odds
Joyce to win: 1/50
Hammer to win: 16/1
Joyce by decision/technical decision: 4/1
Joyce by KO/TKO: 1/6
Hammer by decision/technical decision: 40/1
Hammer by KO/TKO: 25/1
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).