By: Sean Crose
“Lennox is a clown. I don’t respect Lennox.”
The Lennox being mentioned above is none other than former undisputed, and all time great, heavyweight champion of the world, Lennox Lewis. The man speaking poorly of Lewis is none other than Anthony Joshua, Lewis’ fellow Englishman and former heavyweight kingpin. Joshua was being interviewed by Sky Sports when the subject of Lewis came up. His response seemed to catch Anna Woolhouse, who was conducting the interview, off guard.
“So am I,” Joshua responded when Woolhouse countered that Lewis had built himself quite a legacy. “It’s nothing compared to what Lennox is doing,” Joshua continued. “Nothing. Me and Lennox aren’t the same. My legacy is to sit back and enjoy the younger generation coming up. And not to really be involved, just appreciate what it takes to get there. Lennox is a liar. Me and Lennox are cut from a different cloth.”
Lewis himself responded to Joshua’s words in a tone that was less combative.
“Disappointed in AJ’s words,” Lewis tweeted, “but I understand that this ‘jealousy’ narrative was only fabricated AFTER I criticized them for Wilder negotiations. All of the sudden I’m a hater.” Lewis then went on to suggest that Joshua wasn’t the one behind the controversy. “Ask who benefits,” he wrote, “from such a simple minded narrative. Not AJ. Not me.” Clearly, the indication was that Joshua’s team was behind it all.
“I don’t blame AJ as much,” Lewis tweeted later, “as I blame the ppl around him that stoke the fires. I have remained at an arms distance from AJ to respect that he wants to make his own way. I’m sure he also gets sick of the constant comparisons to me over his entire career.” Lewis stated the reason there is an issue to begin with is because he felt team Joshua didn’t do enough to make a fight with Deontay Wilder before Joshua was stunned by Andy Ruiz last June at Madison Square Garden.
Yahoo’s Kevin Iole has stated that “Joshua’s comments toward Lewis are out of character, as he’s always carried himself professionally.” Joshua, however, has unquestionably been under a considerable amount of stress since losing to Ruiz, who most people simply saw as a tune up for the man on the road to major bouts against Deontay Wilder and/or Tyson Fury. Now that the express train has gone off the rails (at least temporarily), one could only expect Joshua to not be his best (at least until if or when he were to best Ruiz in a rematch).
Speaking of Ruiz, the toast of the heavyweight division is reportedly unhappy that the scheduled December 7th rematch between he and Joshua is set to go down in Saudi Arabia…something else that may lead to Joshua not being in prime form. No matter. Many are taking to their keyboards to claim it’s disrespectful for Joshua to go after Lewis – who has never seemed to have particularly sharp words for anyone since retiring from the sport ages ago.
Appearing willing to let bygones be bygones, Lewis offered the following tweet:
“AJ has my number if he ever wants to clarify what is being said in the media or show me where I’m wrong about something. My doors remain open to him, but just know that disrespect is not answer to his frustrations. Gotta go catch a flight now. Bless!”