By: Sean Crose
It’s been a strange, dangerous few years. First, the entire world was virtually shut down by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Now the world is watching in horror as the Russian military invades Ukraine. Again, it’s been a strange, dangerous few years. On top of the very present ills of the world, former heavyweight titlists Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua have seen their respective careers hit some serious bumps in the figurative road. Wilder was on the losing end of a classic heavyweight battle against Tyson Fury last fall (his third fight with he towering Englishman), while Joshua was outskilled and outpointed by the magnificent Oleksandr Usyk a few weeks earlier.
Now both Wilder and Joshua are without a title belt. What’s more, the heavyweight division is in a state of limbo due to the fact that Usyk, who Joshua was supposed to rematch, has gone to defend his Ukrainian homeland. That means there’s no telling when, or if, the man will be back in the ring. Ukraine is in the middle of a bloody conflict, after all, and Usyk is clearly not the type to back down from a fight, be it in or out of the sport. With Fury set to fight longtime contender Dillian Whyte in the spring, Wilder and Joshua are essentially dancers without dance partners. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, however, has an idea.
“I think,” Hearn said in an iFL TV interview posted Thursday, “if you said to AJ right now, ‘Who’s your top choice?’ I think he’d probably go for Deontay Wilder. ” This, of course, would be an exceedingly dangerous battle for both men. Then again, world titles are not needed in order to make great matchups. “It’s not an interim fight, let’s be honest,” said Hearn. “One thing’s for sure, he’ll be fighting a top ten heavyweight, a world ranked heavyweight.”
Of course, a Joshua-Wilder fight was much discussed years ago, when both men essentially sat atop the heavyweight division. The battle never came to fruition, however, as each fighter began to taste defeat. There is no doubt, though, that a bout between Joshua and the hard hitting American is an intriguing prospect. But could the fight actually get made? Wilder has been pretty low key since last year’s Fury loss. Furthermore, boxing is that most dysfunctional of sports, one where politics, egos and alliances can keep the best combatants from facing off against each other.
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