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Joyce's stunning 11th-round knockout victory over Joseph Parker at the weekend led to talk of him fighting the likes of Fury and Anthony Joshua.
Parker had not been stopped in his 32 previous bouts, despite defeats to heavy-handed fighters such as Joshua and Dillian Whyte, and Joyce's win certainly impressed Fury.
"I've had a lovely day of watching boxing and watching all the big fights and studying all the heavyweights," Fury said in a video on Twitter.
"And I've got to say that big Joe Joyce is the second-best heavyweight in the world, behind myself.
"I've just looked at these prospects who are mandatory for the world title, Zhang [Zhilei] and [Filip] Hrgovic and everybody else. I've changed my mind and I think big Joe Joyce is number two heavyweight in the world."
Fury initially claimed to be retired after stopping Whyte inside six rounds at Wembley in April, but has since been rumoured to be in talks to fight the likes of Dereck Chisora and Manuel Charr.
The undisputed fight with Oleksandr Usyk is on hold until 2023, with the IBF, WBA and WBO champion needing time to recover from injuries after beating Joshua in their rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Fury himself has been involved in a public spat with Joshua, but it appears any plans for those two to fight later in 2022 are over after Joshua failed to meet Fury's deadline for signing the contracts.
And Fury has not ruled out facing Joyce in future, adding: "Who knows if he's number one? One day we'll have to find out who's better out of me and him.
"But at the moment I'm ruling the roost because I'm world heavyweight champion and he's not."