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The Anthony Joshua Question

Posted on 07/17/2023

By: Sean Crose

Does former WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua have what it takes to once again sit atop the heavyweight division? That’s the question that’s on the minds of fans and analysts alike as the towering Englishman prepares for an August 12th rematch against old foe Dillian Whyte. While Joshua won his last fight, a unanimous decision win over Jermaine Franklin in April, the man hasn’t looked dominant since he stopped Kubrat Pulev back in late 2020. There was the loss of his titles to Oleksandr Usyk the following September, then another loss to Usyk just under a year later. Then a bizarre, rambling talk on the ring mic after that fight had ended.

It had clearly been a long time since Joshua appeared to be “the man” in the heavyweight division. Not all that long ago, fighters like Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury seemed forced to have to wait their turn before fighting the popular Joshua. Even after being shocked by Andy Ruiz in his American debut, Joshua smartly decided to box his way to victory in the rematch, subsequently showing the world that he was more than just a power puncher. He was finally set to fight Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world when word came out that Fury was legally bound to face Deontay Wilder for a third time instead.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

First came the loss to former cruiserweight kingpin Usyk, then came the loss in the rematch, accompanied by that rambling spiel on the ring mic. Things looked bad for Joshua at the time because, frankly, they were. Now, however, the man is looking to change things up. Whyte is actually the perfect opponent for Joshua to fight next. He’s beaten the man before, but there’s no guarantee Joshua can best Whyte two times in a row. At this point, Whyte is just what Joshua needs, a talented, tough opponent, one a bit past his best days. Should Joshua impress, he should be back in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division. Should he lose to Whyte, however…

‘What’s beautiful about sports,” the Daily Mail quotes Joshua as saying, “is there’s always a next opportunity to prove yourself, so no matter what happens, there’s a process that I’m following and I just know that if we look at history, everything will work out for me.” At the very least, Joshua seems to have the right outlook heading into the Whyte rematch, an essential ingredient for success, though admittedly one of many.

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