Joseph, 29, has named himself the “Widnes Wrecking Ball” and will train under world champion trainer Oliver Harrison, the stable which looks after St Helens born WBC World Silver Champion Martin Murray and WBA Inter-Continental Super Middleweight champion Rocky Fielding.
A chance sparring session in Oliver’s Gym in Salford alerted the trainer to Joseph’s potential, and he will now train full-time there, before combining boxing with his pre-season training commitments with the Vikings, who will monitor his progress through new Head of Strength and Conditioning, Jon Clarke.
Betts told the club’s official website: “I’ve given Phil permission to get involved in the boxing as we believe it will enhance his performances on the Rugby League field. Phil is passionate about boxing but understands that his priority lies with the Vikings and being involved in helping push the Club forward even more next season.”
Joseph, who will be updating Vikings fans of his boxing news as he embarks on this journey through a blog, said: “Denis is really supportive of this and he’s right behind me as he thinks it will enhance my strength and fitness capacity. Boxing is how I lost a lot of weight and it’s helped me be in the position I’m in as it got me in shape to have another go at Super League with Widnes.
“I must stress to the fans that my Rugby League is the priority and I’ll be doing everything in the pre-season as I normally would. I’ll be working with Oliver on the boxing technique on top of the Vikings training so by the time Super League comes round I’ll be in the shape of my life. Once the season starts again my boxing will be on the back burner but I’ll be returning to it as it’s something I enjoy.”
Oliver Harrison said: “Phil has got a lot of potential. I’m excited working with him. He’s 100% dedicated to be a professional fighter and that’s all I need. His Rugby League training will help him become a better fighter as he’s got plenty of strength and power but we’ll teach him the techniques and make sure he’s prepared.
“I’m hoping to have him boxing in a couple of months time. I’m not sure when he will be fighting, whether that be six weeks, two months or before Christmas. I’ll get him the right sparring partners and go from there but it’s exciting times ahead for Phil.”