Anthony Joshua – Damage Control
By: Kirk Jackson
Anthony Joshua 21-0 (20 KO’s) is scheduled to duel with mandatory WBA challenger Alexander Povetkin 34-1 (24 KO’s) at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.
If triumphant, Joshua is expected to follow suit facing former foe Dillian Whyte at the same venue on April 13, 2019.
The 39-year-old former WBA heavyweight champion only tasted defeat once in his professional career, a loss to former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013, where Povetkin suffered four knock downs in route to losing a unanimous decision.
Povetkin is what we can refer to as “Damage control.”
Povetkin is quite the accomplished fighter; strong amateur background, Olympic medalist, former world champion and possesses name recognition. This fight is designed for Joshua to leave an impression with the audience come Saturday night.
“I’m focused,” Joshua said. “I’ve come to a stage now where I have a deep [will] and my heart’s big. In sparring, I’ve tested myself time and time again. My coaches wonder what I’m doing in sparring, so sometimes I tell them to hit me because I know how to throw punches. I know how to fight, but the question is what I can take when it comes back.
“So with Povetkin, I’m completely focused, but also focused on having a good scrap and don’t mind coming away with a black eye and a cut nose, because I want to give a bit to take a bit.”
On paper, Povetkin looks the part. And that’s not to say he doesn’t have a chance at all; he certainly has a puncher’s chance.
The former WBA heavyweight title-holder will have to overcome significant size disadvantage if he is to pull off a big upset Saturday night. The 39-year-old Russian weighed in at 222 lbs., more than 24 lbs. less than Anthony Joshua. The 6-feet-6 Joshua also stands about four inches taller than Povetkin.
This particular fight, match-up, favors the champion Anthony and is one that he can control. Joshua wants to seize and maintain control; whether it’s in the ring with his large frame and imposing jab along with matters outside the ring ranging from contract negotiations, weigh-ins, post-fight interviews, everything.
He wants control like his promoter Eddie Hearn.
Hearn wants control as far as owning fighters, selecting venue, dates and regulating the cash flow. This is to be expected of a successful promoter and businessman.
Everything is carefully orchestrated and carried out to plan. Joshua’s entrance song in his previous fight against Joseph Parker illustrated such.
Paid in Full by Eric B and Rakim informs the audience of Joshua’s intentions.
Famous lines such as, “Thinkin of a master plan, cause ain’t nothin but sweat inside my hand,” and continued with “So I start my mission, leave my residence, Thinkin how could I get some dead presidents?”
His walkthrough entrance, the fight with how the referee favorably kept the fighters from working on the inside, the post-fight interview sequence, disallowing the presence of Deontay Wilder to enter the ring (as there were negotiation talks at that time), everything coordinated like a political campaign.
The Olympic gold medalist and unified professional world champion Joshua is en route to accomplishing his goals; filling out arenas across the United Kingdom and winning world titles, but Joshua has yet to leave his place of residence.
Joshua wants world domination; he wants to be recognized as the baddest man on the planet, as Anthony Joshua, not Anthony Johnson.
His route towards that distinction includes a pit stop in the United States of America. Fellow compatriot Amir Khan believes as such.
“Yeah, if you want to be global, you have to go to America,” said Khan when speaking to David Anderson of the Daily Mirror. “My dream was to fight in Las Vegas, Madison Square Garden — all those places where Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson fought.
Joshua has yet to make his mark on American soil. Another landmark Joshua must consider, is if he wants to obtain heavyweight supremacy, he must go through American WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 40-0 (39 KO’s) or the lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury 27-0 (19 KO’s).
Just told that the “dream” bouts under @BronzeBomber and Fury @STAPLESCenter would be a @leosantacruz2 Gary Russell Jr. featherweight unification and an @abnermares @Gervontaa title fight. That’d be an epic PPV…
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) September 20, 2018
With Wilder and Fury inching closer to a fight date, news of that match-up materializing takes some of the power away from Joshua as far as attention due to the importance of that bout between undefeated champions.
Especially considering there is a contingent of the boxing audience believing Joshua is avoiding a fight with Wilder.
Wilder was originally scheduled to fight Povetkin in Russia in the year of 2016. The fight failed to manifest due to failed drug tests from Povetkin.
Subsequently, Wilder defeated former champions Chris Arreola, Bermane Stirverne and one of boxing’s most avoided fighters Luis Ortiz.
Within that same timespan, Joshua defeated former champions Klitschko, Parker and contender Carlos Takam. Joshua facing Povetkin is just another measure of seizing control of the Wilder situation and implementing mind games.
In spite of the nuances of each situation, Joshua and Hearn can play public perception and state Joshua is the unified champion and is fighting opponents Wilder failed to face. They want to maintain control of the terms and conditions if they are to fight in the future.
Joshua vs. Povetkin is the first boxing main event for Eddie Hearn’s DAZN app/network. Hearn promotes Joshua and it makes sense for Joshua to be on the forefront debut of this service. Which may also explain the selection of Povetkin as an opponent for this particular fight, as opposed to seeing Joshua come to terms with facing the likes of Wilder?
Wilder is an uncontrollable variable – whether it’s in the ring with his style and controlled aggression, or outside the ring regarding negotiations for the biggest fight that can be conjured in all of combat sports.
Joshua should win this weekend and appear dominant while doing so. Everything is going as planned.
Can Povetkin Pull Off a Wembley Upset?
By: Ste Rowen
September has already given us the return of ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, Superfly 3 and Canelo/GGG 2, so you could be forgiven for forgetting that this weekend sees the unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, return to the ring to face the under-the-radar threat of Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
It feels a long time since AJ added the WBO to his ever-expanding belt collection, which is now only missing Deontay Wilder’s WBC and the vacant Ring Magazine title, but it seems an age ago since Povetkin took on Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 for his first, and so far, only attempt at the full world championship belts.
By some, the Russian was hailed as the chosen one, the man who could end the Klitschko brother’s heavyweight duopoly. He entered the pro ranks riding a wave of hype having won gold medals at the 2003 world championship and the 2004 Athens Olympics. Fighting between Germany and Russia, Alexander steadily built his record with wins over gatekeepers and fringe contenders but when his breakout happened, it happened quickly.
In 2007, just 2 years as a professional, Povetkin, at 13-0, took on Chris Byrd, who 18 months previous, had been stopped in seven rounds by the now, IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko. That night in Erfurt, Alex engaged in an entertaining back and forth with the American southpaw until ultimately forcing the stoppage in the 11th round. Just three months later, the Russian was back in the ring to take on 30-0, Eddie Chambers. This time in Berlin, the rising star from the East completely dominated Chambers. The only thing missing was the knockout.
It didn’t matter too much, from there it was all about biding his time, staying busy until he was finally given his shot at either Klitschko. By the time of the Moscow bout, ‘Sasha’ was 26-0, held the WBA ‘Regular’ title, and had added names to his growing record such as Ruslan Chagaev, Marco Huck, a faded Hasim Rahman and an unbeaten Andrzej Wawrzyk.
But in the end, Wladimir was a bridge too far. Dropped four times en route to a unanimous decision defeat, the Ukrainian was a level above. All of ‘Sasha’s’ best attributes were nullified; unable to land his looping overhand-right, rarely successful with left hooks to the body and what seemed most demoralising of all, Klitschko’s size eradicating the 2004 gold medallist’s attempts inside. It’s an issue Povetkin will no doubt have worked on in preparation for facing another bigger man in Joshua.
‘‘I need to work on my conditioning…Just a single punch could’ve turned it all upside-down…I lost the battle, but I’ll win the war.’’ Povetkin said post-fight that night, perhaps more hopeful than realistic. He never got the opportunity for revenge and ever since the Klitschko loss it’s felt as if the current WBA’s #2, has been in search of a big-name fighter to propel him into boxing’s mainstream and redeem himself for that defeat. It should have been Wilder, but the Russian has only himself to blame for those bouts falling through.
Whatever your views on Povetkin’s suspect history with PEDs, purely in terms of resume of opponents to earn another shot at a full world title; since 2014, ‘Sasha’ has those names, including stoppages over Carolos Takam, Manuel Charr, Mariusz Wach and most recently a chilling two-punch destruction of David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard in March.
At today’s press conference, Alexander, like the rest of the build up to this bout, continued to be understated,
‘‘I’ve been concentrating on strength and endurance…There’s nothing else to add. The fight will show everything that we’ve got.’’
‘‘When I fought Klitschko I was much weaker and much worse shape than I am now…I never like to say what will happen ahead of time. You will see everything on Saturday night.’’
The Russian, currently 34-1 (24KOs), will step into the ring with what many view as no more than a puncher’s chance. Perhaps the lack of hype heading into his 2nd super fight will see the 39-year-old excel.
Joshua is already set for yet another Wembley stadium bout in April 2019, where the opponent is expected to be Dillian Whyte in a rematch of their 2015 domestic dustup. It’s up to ‘Sasha’ to scupper those plans and upset the masses.
DAZN Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
By: William Holmes
The buzz behind DAZN has been growing louder and louder, and their first “official” card will happen this Saturday at 4:30PM ET. Undefeated heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua will face top rated contender, Alexander Povetkin, for Joshua’s IBF, WBA, and WBO Heavyweight titles.
This bout will take place at a sold out Wembley Stadium. Joshua has fought in London several times before, mainly at the O2 Arena, but this will be Joshua’s first fight at Wembley Stadium since he defeated Wladimir Klitschko.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Joshua nearly didn’t fight Povetkin, as there were ongoing negotiations with US Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, but Joshua and Eddie Hearn hope to make the Povetkin fight in 2019 and have move forwarded with the Povetkin fight.
The undercard looks to have solid fights. Luke Campbell will face Yvan Mendy in the co-main event of the night. Matty Askin will defend his British Cruiserweight Title against Lawrence Okolie. Sergey Kuzmin will meet David Price in the heavyweight division, and Shakhram Giyasov, Julio Laguna, Dana Zaxo, and Tony Bilic will be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the main event of the evening:
Anthony Joshua (21-0) vs. Alexander Povetkin (34-1) IBF, WBA, WBO Heavyweight Title Fight
Most consider Anthony Joshua to be the best heavyweight fighter in the heavyweight division, and that belief is backed up by Joshua’s resume. But he will be facing one of the toughest tests of his career in Alexander Povetkin on Saturday.
The challenge in front of him is not lost on Joshua. He stated, “ We both have a big heart and we can dig deep, so that always turn out for a good fight. The one who’s toughest will come out victorious. When I look at this weight, he’s one of the lighter heavyweights, but that means he’s got a lot of speed and is a quick fighter. But I train against amateur guys that are just as quick as him..with a good fight, I’ll always find a wa.”
He’s twenty eight years old and is eleven years younger than Povetkin. He will also have a significant four inch height advantage and a seven inch reach advantage on Povetkin.
Both boxers have considerable power, but Joshua has the edge in this department. He has stopped twenty opponents, every single man he has faced except Joseph Parker failed to reach the final bell. Povetkin has twenty four stoppages, including three of his past five fights, but his power is not on Anthony Joshua’s level.
Povetkin is very aware of the power of Joshua. He stated, ”Anthony Joshua is one of the strongest in the division.”
Both boxers have had highly successful amateur careers. Joshua won the Gold Medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics while Povetkin won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Activity is also in Joshua’s favor. He fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and three times in 2016. Povetkin fought once in 2018, twice in 2017, and once in 2016. Povetkin might have been able to fight more often, but two positive steroid tests have led to periods of suspensions.
Even though Joshua has only been fighting as a professional 2013, but his professional resume for someone with 21 fights is very impressive. He has defeated the likes of Joseph Parker, Carlos Takam, Wladimir Klitschko, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte, Gary Cornish, and Kevin Johnson.
In fact, Joshua has only fought two guys with losing records during his entire career.
Povetkin has been boxing as a professional since 2005 and also has an impressive list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of David Price, Christian Hammer, Andriy Rudenko, Johan Duhaupas, Mariusz Wach, Mike Perez, Carlos Takam, Manuel Charr, Andrzej Wawrzyk, Hasim Rahman, Marco Huck, Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers, Chris Byrd, and Larry Donald. His lone blemish was to Wladimir Klitschko.
Povetkin’s lone loss, to Wladimir Klitschko, was a route and Klitschko has similar size and reach in comparison to Anthony Joshua. Joshua had a good fight with Klitschko, but was able to turn up the pressure and stop him in the later rounds after getting knocked down himself.
Povetkin is a live underdog, but it’s unlikely he’ll be able to pull off the upset at the age of 39 and with no banned substances in his system.
Final Press Conference Quotes: Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin
At Wembley Stadium on Thursday afternoon, the boxing world saw a preview of what will prove to be a historic night for the fight sports world, as Anthony Joshua will face off against Alexander Povetkin in front of more than 80,000 people. In a press conference, Saturday night’s fighters gathered to discuss their preparation, what it will be like to fight at Wembley Stadium, and their predictions.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
“We both have a big heart and we can dig deep, so that always turns out for a good fight. The one who’s toughest will come out victorious. When I look at this weight, he’s one of the lighter heavyweights, but that means he’s got a lot of speed and is a quick fighter. But I train against amateur guys that are just as quick as him… With a good fight, I’ll always find a way.”
Povetkin is one of my toughest challengers to date so that’s where my focus has been… My body has been broken down and rebuilt back up through this camp like never before.”
On fighting at Wembley Stadium:
“Coming back here is a blessing… This is home.”
“Anthony Joshua is one of the strongest in the division.”
On a prediction:
“I never try to say anything ahead of time, so you will see everything on Saturday fight night.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director
“It’s an absolute honor to be back at a national stadium, Wembley Stadium, for another huge night of boxing. Four world champion belts on the line, 80,000 people out there singing and dancing trying to see if Anthony Joshua can continue to reign supreme as the No. 1 star in the sport.”
On DAZN making its U.S. debut:
“DAZN is a major move in the U.S. market, and it’s a must-have for fight fans.”
Joseph Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America
“DAZN is different and we will quickly become an absolute must-have for fight fans. Via our partnerships with Matchroom, Bellator MMA, the World Boxing Super Series and Combate Americas, we will deliver more than 80 fight nights in our opening 12 months – and we’ll deliver them for just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial. Superb value, without doubt. And that value offering is immediate from this weekend. If you sign up for DAZN today, you’ll get 14 premium boxing and MMA events from DAZN in your free trial month. That is unmatched value for U.S. fight sports fans. Full stop.”
“Our entrance into the U.S. market has caused quite a stir. Since our launch announcement earlier in the year, we’ve seen other promoters and broadcast networks making their own grand announcements. It’s been a lot of fun to see how this has shaken up the community – because it only benefits fight fans as everyone steps up their game.”
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing
Participants from Saturday’s undercard also spoke with the press on Thursday.
• Sergey Kuzmin vs. David Price – Heavyweights
• Matty Askin vs. Lawrence Okolie – Cruiserweights
• Luke Campbell vs. Yvan Mendy – Lightweights
“I’m happy to be part of such a significant event here at the arena. I’ve gone through very hard and tedious training, and I’ll demonstrate all that I’ve achieved during this training on Saturday night.”
“I can’t lose… The upside of winning this fight is life-changing so I’ll be going in there and doing whatever it takes to win.”
On his rematch against Yvan Mendy:
“This for me is a fight I’ve wanted the last three years. I’ve had a great training camp. Physically and mentally, I’m all there.”
“I have a lot of self belief because of the training I put in, and I know what I’m capable of. I’m looking forward to it – skill for skill will show that I’m on another level. My attributes are overlooked.”
For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels: @DAZNUSA on Facebook, @DAZN_USA for Twitter, and DAZN_USA for Instagram.
DAZN Ushering in a New Era with Joshua vs. Povektin
By: Oliver McManus
A landmark moment for the broadcasting of boxing – if you believe the press releases, that is – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin will be broadcast over in the States on the DAZN platform ahead of their extended, $1billion commitment (over eight years) to the airing of Matchroom USA shows.
In many ways the nature in which we consume our content is ever evolving so let’s talk about that quickly before we move onto the big heavyweight contest taking place at the weekend –
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
With boxing becoming increasingly popular both sides of the Atlantic, broadcasters are all looking to cash in on the action whilst the boom is still hot – as of late we’ve seen MTK Global sign a 12 date deal with BoxNation in the UK, Frank Warren has transitioned over to BT Sport and, in America, there have been renewed deals for PBC and Top Rank on ESPN as well as the new boys in DAZN.
All of this means that the shows we are getting tend, and I say tend because they’re not always, to be better than the quality of card we would have seen, say, five years ago with everyone involved acutely aware that, hey, if they’re product isn’t good enough then there are viable alternatives.
But it’s not just your traditional TV stations that are starting to emerge as big players in the world of boxing broadcasting – we already know about DAZN and their huge plans in America but look at ESPN+ which costs $4.99 a month, airs exclusive undercard coverage and, indeed, full fight nights from Top Rank.
It’s clear then that there is a desire to move away from the traditional and start capturing new audiences, a younger audience that, yes, consumes content on the go and doesn’t always want to sit in front of a television set, they want to watch it when they’re on a train, at a café, all sorts of things and we are seeing companies adapt to the habits of modern society.
Streaming is fast becoming an increasingly popular way of accessing live boxing and I’m not just talking about when you don’t fancy £19.95 for a pay per view; IFL TV and Boxing Social are the leaders of this particular game in Great Britian with the two platform, both on YouTube, having started off with a devotion to interview but quickly finding their feet by showing some of the best shows around the country from the likes of MTK and Carl Greaves.
And platforms like this are providing opportunity for the fighters, not just fans, to get added exposure and, potentially, extra ticket sales because gone are the days where the likes of Sam “Bullet” Bowen’s British title fight against Maxi Hughes would go unwitnessed except for those on the night – it allows larger numbers to view the sport for the first time, for free, it even helps if you’re the opponent because now you can get your hand on the footage.
DAZN promises to be an, almost, wraparound service with full fight week coverage because there can be no scheduling clashes – this is a platform where you can choose which stream – and we’ve seen Matchroom already make strides in this area with three new shows, STREAMED, in the run-up to a fight (hosted by Chris Lloyd and Darren Barker).
You’ll notice how often I’ve said the word stream because I cannot emphasise enough how key this market is to the future of boxing.
Ultimately we can take two things for the way boxing is going – a) more, better content and b) lighter wallets. But, hey, it’s a price to pay!
Let’s talk the big fight then – Anthony Joshua vs Alexander Povetkin – in a bout for the unified WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Championship of the World that sees AJ looking to go 22 unbeaten.
Povetkin was showcased to the British fans, on the undercard of Joshua’s victory over Joseph Parker, when he beat and bloodied David Price over five rounds and that performance showed us that, whilst Povetkin is still crisp and powerful with his punch, he is there for the taking.
Price rocked Povetkin, sending him collapsing into the ropes, and there can be no doubt that Joshua is of a far superior technical quality to Price – Anthony’s shot selection, timing, footwork, hand placement, it’s all in a league above – so there should be no valid reason why Joshua can’t go through the gears and stop the Russian.
Of course if he attempts to get embroiled in a real fire fight then that’s where we could see some issues because nothing makes Povetkin perform like pressure, like feeling on the cusp of defeat, he’ll just come back and punch you even harder.
And when you get punched by Povetkin, you know you’ve just been hit with something real.
Having said that you would still back the heavyweight kingpin to be able to withstand the best that his challenger has to offer ahead of a, hopefully, super fight in April next year.
A new era begins with DAZN but, if you ask me, that heavyweight crown will still be on the shoulders of Anthony Joshua come Sunday morning.
Anthony Joshua Prepared To Face Alexander Povetkin – And His Critics – This Saturday
By: Sean Crose
The last time the world saw Anthony Joshua in the ring, the Englishman cruised to victory over New Zealand’s Joseph Parker. Throngs of people had gathered live and in person to watch the reputed best big man in boxing ply his trade that March evening in Wales. They were not disappointed. Although he didn’t score a knockout, Joshua let the tens upon tens of thousands gathered in Cardiff know that he was numero uno in boxing’s most historically esteemed division. It was most certainly a shining moment for the undefeated (now 21- 0) champion. Since that time not all that long ago, however, things have changed.
There’s a perception throughout much of the fight world that Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn have been, if not outright avoiding, then dragging their heels regarding a major unification bout with American knockout artist (and WBC champ) Deontay Wilder. Although many, if not most, feel a battle between the two men is inevitable, some of the shine of Joshua’s heretofore sterling reputation has clearly waned. The fact that Wilder appears ready, eager and willing to get it on with former undefeated heavyweight king Tyson Fury only serves to make team Joshua look more suspect. Eagerness on the parts of the two most highly regarded heavyweights not named Joshua to face off simply puts Joshua’s seeming standoffishness to face Wilder in stark relief.
Still, Joshua is certainly not taking on a cherry picked opponent when he faces Russia’s 34-1 Alexander Povetkin this Saturday night at London’s Wembley Stadium. Povetkin, whose only loss came to a younger Wladimir Klitschko than the one who almost bested Joshua in a classic not so long ago, is considered one of the top operators in the heavyweight division. He’s been popped for PED use several times, but Eddie Hearn has told the media Povetkin has been thoroughly tested in the lead up to this weekend’s bout. Povetkin last fought on the same Cardiff card Joshua did, smashing the well-known David Price in the fifth round of a title eliminator. In short, Povetkin is Joshua’s mandatory, not some tuneup opponent.
Now within days of the fight, Joshua makes it clear he knows the bloom is somewhat off the rose of his reputation – at least for the moment. “I can’t please everyone anymore,” the IBF, WBO, and WBA champ, ever the level head, told the BBC, “so I get that and so it’s my game now.” Joshua is widely regarded to have proved himself a true top level champion after getting up off the mat in his war with Klitschko in 2017. He doesn’t appear willing to let the shots of naysayers lay him out now. “Either I get stronger from it,” he said of his criticism, “or I get drained by it.” Say what one will about the 28-year-old, he’s not known to drain easily.
The Elite Boxers in the Heavyweight Division
By: Oliver McManus
Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora produced the two best performances of the night on Saturday at the O2 Arena and with that set up the potential for super fights across the heavyweight division, here we take a look at the five ‘elite’ heavyweights in the world and assess their credentials before a subsequent article next week will look at five ‘contenders’ –
Anthony Joshua – WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO Heavyweight Champion of the World
Where else to start but the face of heavyweight boxing? Anthony Joshua is capable of selling out Wembley Stadium with just the mere mention of his name and his record in the sport is simply remarkable – a gold medallist at his home Olympics in 2012, the pressure was always going to be on but, boy, has he handled the pressure supremely.
The 12th of December 2015 saw emotion seep into his fight-mentality for the first time as he let the rivalry between Dillian Whyte and himself get the better of his, previously, cool and calculated game plan with Joshua drawn into a firefight. Arguably that was the best thing that ever happened to him because it brought out a completely different animal within him, the killer instinct was born.
Wladimir Klitschko was legacy defining, there can be no other way of putting it, and whilst that clash highlighted the fact AJ was mortal – hard to believe, I know – you simply cannot knock the Watford-man for taking on and pulling off a feat of monumental proportions that many had previously tried and failed in, in only his 19th professional bout.
Oddly you could say his stock has fallen or, rather, the gap has got closer between himself and his closest competitors over the weekend with Chisora destroying Carlos Takam in a fashion far more convincing than Joshua and Dillian Whyte dropping Joseph Parker – once legitimately, once questionably – on the way to a unanimous decision.
Joshua is a rare breed of fighter in that he is seemingly willing to fight anyone and up against Alexander Povetkin in September he faces, previously, one of the most feared heavyweights in the world and, certainly, a huge puncher but someone that should be a relatively easy fight over Joshua’s last few tests.
2019, then, is the year for Anthony Joshua to continue in his pursuit of ever-lasting greatness.
Deontay Wilder – WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World
The ‘Punch’ to Anthony Joshua’s ‘Judy’ – a reference which anyone outside of the UK will need to Google – Deontay Wilder has a rather reasonable claim to being the hardest puncher in the current heavyweight division and is famed for his “windmill” shots which, when unloaded, signal a trademark finish to the fight.
Questions have, rightfully, been raised at the quality of Wilder’s recent opponents with the likes of Chris Arreola, Bermane Stiverne (the second time) and Artur Szpilka not exactly screaming “world class” but, having said that, Wilder has consistently dispatched the people put in front of him in a fashion you’d expect from the WBC Champion of the World.
Against ‘King Kong’ Luis Ortiz in March this year, the American was in the toughest fight of his career and took the best that Ortiz threw at him. Whilst the fight was a strong 50-50 prior to the stoppage that the Bronze Bomber managed to pull out of the bag, the contest showed that Wilder was capable of taking a shot to land a shot and that is the phrase that best defines his style.
Even when in with the best, genuine elite level fighters, he sticks to what he does well and that, very simply, is PUNCH. Now some may argue that shows a weakness in ability to adapt to the styles of challengers and whilst that is something that could be his downfall in the future, it’s worked with tremendous success thus far.
Not necessarily a household name in the United States – indeed you could say he’s more well-known on this side of the pond than in his own backyard – you can understand the strategy from those around him of building him up with all-American match-ups (Dominic Brezeale is rumoured to be the next defence) which enable him to gain profile and keep the belt with, relatively, easy fights.
BUT then comes the question of why on earth should a world champion need to have his profile built up? The fight with Anthony Joshua is a fight that NEEDS to happen in order for Deontay Wilder to be able to put to bed questions regarding the legitimacy of his reign and, for many, we’ve still yet to see the WBC champ fully tested.
Dillian Whyte – WBC Number 1 ranked heavyweight contender
Whyte proved his doubters wrong on Saturday with a scintillating win over Joseph Parker, make no mistake, he was sincerely rocked and challenged by the former WBO Champion, dropped to the canvas at one point, but what was most impressive about taking the barrage of punches was that he proved his chin has developed far more than anything else since he faced Anthony Joshua in 2015 –we always knew he had the agility, the power, the energy, that was never in question.
It’s hard to believe that it’s 18 months since Whyte went to war with Dereck Chisora, winning a split decision, but that bout seems to be symbolic of the way he goes about every fight – with an attitude of “guts and glory”, leaving everything on the line, and that’s something you cannot criticise because it produces excitement galore.
Up against Robert Helenius, Whyte really failed to click into gear when in the ring with the Nordic Nightmare and whilst the fight wasn’t aesthetically pleasing it was a valuable lesson for the Brixton Bomber because it showed him that, sometimes, you can’t go all-out for a knockout and have to box around the opposition, out-working them and simply fatiguing them into defeat.
With Deontay Wilder having been offered a princely sum – a career high pay day – to face Whyte (in the United Kingdom) and turning it down, there can be no doubt as to the stature of Eddie Hearn’s fighter and the attributes he possess all point to him being a world-champion in waiting.
Mild controversy erupted when he, and his team, turned down fights with Luis Ortiz and Kubrat Pulev in world title eliminators with many saying he was ducking the respective fighters but the fight with Joseph Parker seems to have answered all the questions being lobbied at him because whilst Parker isn’t as explosive as Ortiz he is faster, he is more sprightly and he’s every bit as technical as Pulev so, in a way, he got the best of both worlds.
I wouldn’t have said it three years ago but Dillian Whyte has proved me, and many critics wrong, and I’m happy to hold my hands up with regards to that because it was never anything personal but, for me, Dillian Whyte is the best heavyweight outside of the world title holders.
AJ in April? Sounds like a plan.
Kubrat Pulev – IBF Number 2 ranked heavyweight contender
Pulev is an interesting character, vastly underrated by fans and extensively avoided by fellow fighters, his technical style of boxing is one that hasn’t exactly played into his hands because with him not being a HUGE puncher, his technical and defensive aspect are exponentially enhanced and it makes him one heck of a challenge for anyone brave enough to take him on.
Dillian Whyte opted not to travel to Bulgaria to face Pulev and Jarrell Miller is another to have avoided stepping into unknown territory for the fight – which the IBF sanctioned, in both cases, as a final eliminator – and it’s not the location that is the sticking point but rather the risk-reward factor which strayed significantly into the risk region.
As I’ve said, Pulev relies on the technical fundamentals not to blast his opponents out of the ring but rather to get the better of them in the longer run, over the scheduled distance, with calculated punch output, shot selection, and beautifully timed footwork culminating in style of fighting bordering on art but so under-appreciated.
Another fighter to have taken on Dereck Chisora, emerge from the fight win the win and be levied with headlines of “Chisora fails to perform” as opposed to “Pulev outclasses Chisora”, Pulev hasn’t been one to avoid fights for the duration of his career and as a former European champion the Bulgarian has produced convincing wins on the big stage for a long, long time with the likes of Alexander Dimitrenko, Alexander Ustinov and Tony Thompson all falling foul of The Cobra’s leathal bite.
A former world title challenger Pulev has the experience of that level and whilst he’s not looked as sharp as his previous years, since his loss to Klitschko (in 2014) he has looked mentally more prepared whenever he steps in the ring – albeit against lesser opposition – and many were expecting him to provide Anthony Joshua with a stern test when they were scheduled to face-off and with Pulev back in the world title scene, there could still be life in the ageing cobra yet.
Tyson Fury – Lineal heavyweight champion of the world
This isn’t wrote in any order so before anyone gets in a huff as to my positioning of Fury in this list – or indeed my inclusion of him at all – let me explain why the lineal champion is in this “elite” overview;
Whatever you think of his last opponent – Sefer Seferi – Tyson Fury was the man who beat the man and, in doing so, made Klitschko look average and that is an achievement that simply cannot be overstated, it was beyond unexpected and Fury produced the goods.
Further to that his mental strength is, for me, the best of anyone in the division. He has had several well documented struggles and, let’s be clear, earned more than enough money for him to afford to retire and live comfortably for the rest of his life. So there was no need for Fury to comeback, he had proved his doubters wrong, but it was his inner motivation to prove that he was better than Joshua, better than Wilder, better than everyone that pushed him to return and lose 8stone in the process. That’s super-human.
Fury himself is unconventional in fighting style with the ability to switch stances with ease combined with his freakish height and surprisingly lucid movement marking him out as one of the most unpredictable men in the ring – one second he’ll be staring out into the crowd and the next launching a furious flurry into the body of his opponent.
And that is what marks him out from the other guys on this list because whilst they are all exceptional fighters in their own right, they are distinctly predictable – you know what you’re getting with each of them – but with Fury you get the impression that not even he knows. He’s no stranger to being an underdog, either, and dealing with the pressure of fighting in the away corner so his ability to handle those situations are incredible.
Fighting Francesco Pianeta on August 18th, Fury is targeting two further fights by the end of 2018 before mounting a serious challenge to the belts he used to own and with discussions already being held about the potential for a fight with Deontay Wilder, you’d be inclined to suggest it’s only a matter of time before he’s back where he belongs.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT, a look at the heavyweight elite boxers and of course the use of the term elite is entirely subjective, it’s merely my top 5 and there are plenty of guys that could have warranted being featured but, hey, nobody said it was easy!
Joshua, Povetkin, Wilder and Whyte – Amidst the Heavyweight Jungle
By: Daniel Smith
Alexander the “White Lion” Povetkin is certainly no palooka Joe opponent for the current WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua. The Russian bulwark and former WBA champion comes equipped with explosive hooking-bombs and an attacking ferocity that’s set to a hair trigger. A steely seasoned pro, a lethal brawling-scrapper who conducts his affairs inside the ring without pomp, pretence or pantomime grudges for that matter. A rough, tough fighter, who’s more than ready to upset the order of the food-chain amidst the heavyweight jungle!
Let’s take an analysis of the hardboiled Russian’s attributes.
Povetkin – a 6ft 2″ and 16 stone, solidly conformed, power-punching, pit-bull of a man. A heavyweight brusier who blasts out opponents from his inside fighting style and punishing combinations. Povetkin’s not a man to be tangled with, as his impressive record of 34 wins in 35 fights demonstrates his fighting caliber. The former two time heavyweight, Ring Magazine, Lineal and WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF champion, Wladimir Klitschko is only man to have beaten the “White Lion” – a win that came by unanimous decision, not before the Russian was knocked-down in round 2 from a quick left hook, and 3 knockdowns in round 7.
However, since his defeat against “Dr Steel-Hammer”, Povetkin has showcased and examplified his brutish-brawling aptitude by contiuing his winning streak in his last six bouts – his most recent victory coming by way of a chilling knockout against the 6ft 7″ heavyweight, British contender, David Price. Povetkin, prior to the knockout was staggered backwards, crashing into the ropes in round 3 before recovering and deploying a sledge-hammering hook to the chin that rendered Price out for the count in round 5.
In addtion to the hardboiled Russian’s rampart-esque attributes; Povetkin is “no piece of cake” for any fighter, including Mr Joshua. His resilience, grit, iron-determination and his rapcious pangs to be world champion once again, position him within the mix of top-tier heavyweight lions that trade leather in the squared cirlce.
AJ – some have regarded the heavyweight champion as the ‘complete boxer’. A fighter who posseses a furnished slew of a proficient pugilistic attributes, whilst equally equipped to slug it out in a gritty brawl when the chips are down. You just have to look no further than his win over Wladimir Klitschko, back in 2017.
Joshua is a boxer who appears to prefer fighting guys of similar height and weight. In his last two bouts, AJ fought Carlos Takam and Joseph Parker – two relatively smaller fighters within the division and two guys who he didn’t blast out of the ring or chin with smashing uppercuts. But that said, I feel the days of Anthony whamming fighters across the ring, maybe drawing to a close.
Nowadays, AJ seems to tread with caution, taking a more strategic chess- match enforcement; utilising dynamics, fundamental advantages, such as speed, skill, reach, knowledge and now, experience, rather than emptying his tank after six or seven rounds from firing-out a barrage of sheer velocitised power-punchers. Joshua seems to struggle slightly when figting the smaller heavyweights – his punching power becomes somewhat blunted with the shift of gravitational direction, from channelling his momentum downwards instead straight ahead or up.
But I’m confident Josh’s record will be sporting another notch come September, 22nd, 2018, for he’ll undoubtedly treat the Povetkin fight with the respect and earnestness it demands, not looking past the extremely dangerous opponent who thretens his rein. However, if he does emerge as the victor against the solid Russian; would the unfication bout between himself and Deontay Wilder be back on the cards in 2019? I have to be honest – I’m not completely sure it will come to fruition.
And here’s my thoughts as to why.
Not for a moment do I believe AJ harbors any fear or doubts in his ability to beat Wilder, nor do I believe he is ‘ducking’ the WBC champion (even though that’s how it may appear to some). However, I do believe Joshua is conscious he would be facing an opponent that is capable of destryoing his Lineal champion dreams, by sparking him out-cold. It may well in fact be Matchroom who are calculating the “risks vs. benefits” assessment of a unification battle with “the bronze bomber”, Deontay Wilder. And it’s a possibilty Hearn who’s avoidng the clash, in an attempt to have another ‘sing-song around the money tree’ or to ‘make hay while the sun shines’, as the old phrases go.
So, what are the risks and benefits of the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF world heavyweight champion, (21-0) Anthony vs. the WBC world heavyweight champion, (40-0), Deontay Wilder?
Let’s take a look.
Wilder – a formidable powerhouse banger who dishes out brutal beatdowns like they’re going out of style. A dangerous fighter, a certified knockout merchant whose punching power detonates on impact like brass knuckles shattering a glass jaw. A man whose boxing forte is not within the parameters of pugilistic sophistication; nor could he lay claim to any proficient technique or graceful footwork. However, Wilder more than compensates and counters with a raw, brutal strength and a primal-predatory ferocity that detects fighters vulnerabilities and weaknesses, like a shark sensing a mere droplet of blood in miles of ocean before attacking its prey.
A towering 6ft 7″, 15stone 10lbs, physical heavy weight- hybrid whose lanky- skinny legs scaffold a lean and muscled statue that configures a physique that becomes a perilous weapon of mayhem and destruction, throwing a torrent of hard-solid shots, wildly swinging muscly spaghetti-like arms in a frenzied punching onslaught, demolishing and obliterating fighters into a straggled heap.
Deontay is understandably frustrated, as he’s not being given the opportunity to display his devastating punching aptitude against AJ – and I’m sure he’s rehersed the fight a million times, as he envisions himself beneath the lights of the squared circle, in the midst of a sell-out rip-roaring, blood-thirsty arena crowd, while he throws mostrous knockout shots before the ref waves off the fight and he emerges as unified heavyweight champion of the world; carving out a legacy along with the memories of career best performance within a battlegound domain that’s embellsihed with the blood, sweat and spit of a classic bout between two hard-hitting heavyweights – the best of their era.
In my opinion, Joshua would be taking the greater risk in this bout as he would be trading leather with an extremely ferocious opponent in Wilder, with an uncalibrated distribution of the belts at stake. I suppose that’s why the proposed uneven see-saw of financial spoils are being generously distributed in Matchroom and AJ’s favour.
It’s fair to say, only relevant people involved from both camps truely know what’s going on and when or if the fight will ever happen. It’s evident there are risks involved for both men, as it’s the heavyweight divsion and it the world can come crasing down with one big punch.
So there’s obviously a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about. However, what we do know is Anthony Joshua’s takes on Povetkin, while Wilder will probably have to defend his title to the mandatory challenger, Dominic Breazeale (19-1).
However, outside Joshua and Wilder, Dillian “the body snatcher” Whyte is the one to watch and possiblly the sleeping, unification giant of the heavyweight divsion – providing he makes an example of Joseph Parker by way of knockout. A potential cracker-jack of a fight that takes place on July 28th, 2018 at London’s O2 arena.
DAZN Kicks Off Stacked Fall Lineup of Boxing and MMA with Heavyweight Title Fight: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
DAZN, the world’s largest dedicated live and on- demand sports streaming service, today announced the details of its expansion into the U.S. This follows parent company Perform Group’s $1 billion joint venture with Matchroom Boxing, one of the world’s leading boxing promoters, and a nine- figure multiyear global distribution agreement with Bellator MMA, a leading global combat sports franchise owned by Viacom. The first-ever fight night will be headlined by heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua OBE and Alexander “The Russian Warrior” Povetkin as the two battle for Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO titles on Sept. 22 live from Wembley Stadium in London.
Scott Coker, Bellator President and CEO, announced today the invited participants and some of the matchups for its stacked Welterweight Grand Prix. The tournament begins with Douglas Lima taking on Andrey Koreshkov as part of the star-studded “Bellator: Mousasi vs. MacDonald” event on Sept. 29 from the SAP Center in San Jose. Additional fights in the tournament include Jon Fitch vs. Neiman Gracie and Ed Ruth vs. Yaro Umasov. The 10-fighter tournament will play out over the next year exclusively on DAZN.
Additionally, Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director, announced plans for a stacked Oct. 6 card at Wintrust Arena in Chicago featuring new signings and former world titleholders Jessie Vargas and Demetrius Andrade as well as world-rated heavyweight Jarrell Miller, in separate bouts. The card will also include IBF light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson and WBO, IBF women’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano. At today’s event, Hearn announced the signings of WBO super lightweight titlist Maurice Hooker, WBA super bantamweight titlist Daniel Roman and several promising American amateurs to Matchroom U.S.A.
Going live in the U.S. on Sept. 10, the Over-the-Top (OTT) sports streaming service made by fans, for fans, will be reshaping the way fans experience the sports they love by making the viewing experience simpler, more affordable and more accessible to all – starting with fight sports. The global streaming platform with millions of subscribers will provide viewers with unlimited access to premium sports content anytime, anywhere for a single subscription price of $9.99 per month following a one-month free trial. All matches streamed on the service will be available both live and on-demand, on a wide range of connected devices, including smart TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.
“We launched DAZN to disrupt the status quo and change the way the world sees sports,” said James Rushton, DAZN CEO. “When you get DAZN, you’ll get all the fights; we won’t stash our best matchups for PPV, linear TV or a higher-tier package. And you’re going to get the entire card live, no matter the time zone and without constraints for one affordable price.”
As the first global pure sports OTT platform, DAZN will be embarking on its September launch with a stacked line up of 70+ fights – more than one fight night a week on average – through partnerships with Matchroom Boxing U.S.A., Bellator MMA and the World Boxing Super Series. Fans will also enjoy access to a robust content portfolio ranging from new shows premiering on the service, behind-the-scenes features leading up to big events and real-time news stories about the upcoming matchups, making it a must-have for fight fans in the U.S.
“DAZN is Perform Group’s most ambitious undertaking to date and we have big plans as a global streaming leader,” said John Skipper, Perform Group Executive Chairman. “In the last two years we’ve expanded into seven countries across three continents attracting millions of subscribers and creating long-term global partnerships with the best in the industry to bring our fans what they want at an affordable price.”
Fight fans who take advantage of DAZN’s one-month free trial just ahead of Sept. 22 will be treated to the following fight nights already scheduled:
• Sept. 22 – Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin
• Sept. 29 – Bellator: Gegard Mousasi vs. Rory MacDonald
• Oct. 6 – Card featuring Jessie Vargas, Demetrius Andrade
• Oct. 12 – Bellator: Matt Mitrione vs. Ryan Bader***
*** Simulcast with Paramount Network
For more information on the fight cards, visit www.matchroomboxing.com and
Additionally, fight fans will feel right at home as International Boxing Hall of Fame fight announcer and the “voice of champions” Michael Buffer will be partnering with DAZN and Matchroom to bring his iconic “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble” call to all fight nights as part of the joint venture.
Fight sports is just the first chapter in DAZN’s multisport plans for the U.S. The platform, which first launched in Europe and Asia two years ago, has developed long-term relationships with rights holders around the world, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, EPL and UEFA among others. The sports streaming service has ambitious plans to expand the portfolio as more rights become available and make DAZN the true sports fan’s home, offering sports content from all over the world that’s viewable anytime, anywhere at one affordable rate. DAZN is already available as a multisport service in markets including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and most recently Italy. Fans can pre-register for the subscription service on www.DAZN.com, as well as receive news about the platform and the sports and games it will show. They can also follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels @DAZNUSA on Facebook and @DAZN_USA for Instagram and Twitter.
Is Deontay Wilder Going Down a Nowhere Road?
By: Charles Jay
Well, I tried. I tried to give you guys the biggest fight of your lives, the most exciting fight in world history. The first undisputed, undefeated, WBC, WBA, WBO AND IBF unified Heavyweight Champion Of The World since Lewis.They tried too you know… They asked for jungle deep numbers. Just to get out of the fight not knowing we were hustlers so we served’em (The Money’s In Da Bag)Just like a game of spades… What he do? That Nicca Benig smdh Just told a bold face lie, he’s not a stand up guy. Instead, he wanted to fight in his country”I respect that”They offered me a “Flat Fee” Crack Head money, something that’s equivalent to a pack of peanuts and loaf bread and a jar of honey!Look I represent the Dirty South I am a product of my own environment. Bama is where I made it out.This survival food I’m use to it, So I said bet “Give me the gun ll do it”.I just basically took the lowest offer in boxing history for a unified title bout… smh”Brain Dead” My team and I bent over backwards pause accepting everything they threw at us just to find out this Boy is terrified of me P****.3 months of Tea Parties by grown men they didn’t even have British hospitality and offer biscuits w/ the tea smh Damn!I said all that past s*** to tell the story and to apologize , I’m sorry guys they played us all.F***’em!! We move forward the future is still bright #51-0 baby let’s go.
That is admittedly not the most cohesive statement on the part of Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion. But you might get the point; he is disgusted that he isn’t getting his opportunity to unify the championship against Anthony Joshua – not right away, anyway, as Joshua must first satisfy a mandatory requirement to face Alexander Povetkin.
Have you ever heard of the “golden rule”? Well, let’s paraphrase it – he who mines the gold makes the rules.
And as far as this duo is concerned, guess who that is?
Well, until Wilder starts filling up Legion Field in his native Alabama, it’s the guy on the other side of the pond.
And so if he wants the big bucks, he’s going to have to wait a while. Does he really have a choice?
Earlier in the week, we wrote about the GGG-Canelo fight, and as a sidelight to that story, Gennady Golovkin was stripped of his IBF version of the title, essentially because he went and fought Vanes Martirosyan instead of their mandatory challenger. But the thing, having one less belt to fight for in that scheduled September 15 matchup doesn’t really make a whole lot of impact on whatever overall interest the fight generates.
In this particular case – that of Wilder and Joshua – it’s different. Let’s explain.
These guys are both heavyweight champions, but that isn’t the division that creates the automatic glamour it used to. Joshua is big over in the UK, of course, but he is not so much of a household name over here. Wilder has a sparkling record of 40-0 with 39 knockouts, but he hasn’t fought a glittering roster of opponents and isn’t exactly “instant money.”
The fact is, neither has shown the ability to carry a Pay Per View event on his own strength in the U.S. In fact, Joshua has not even fought in the States.
You see what Wilder leads with – describing “the biggest fight of your lives” as “The first undisputed, undefeated, WBC, WBA, WBO AND IBF unified Heavyweight Champion Of The World since Lewis..”
So the point is, this is a fight that would appear to NEED to be for the undisputed title, in order to have the kind of cachet needed to score big enough in the Pay Per View market to satisfy what the financial demands of these guys would be.
In other words, these fighters need all the belts because they are not yet at the point where they are bigger than the titles they have.
And contrary to the impression the Wilder camp might be looking to create, the World Boxing Association (WBA) didn’t just suddenly come into the picture. They had been demanding that Joshua face mandatory challenger Povetkin for some time. On April 29, the WBA gave their champion 30 days to make the fight with Povetkin (who is also the WBO’s #1), and then even gave him an extension beyond that, because they were allowing for the Wilder negotiations to take place.
And Wilder can’t say he isn’t familiar with mandatories; the WBC had required him to fight their mandatory challenger, Bernard Stiverne, a second time, and he did just that, stepping in as a substitute after Luis Ortiz had failed a drug test pursuant to their scheduled fight in November of last year.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, who is Joshua’s promoter, revealed that he had given Wilder two weeks to make a deal back on June 4, and naturally that deadline wasn’t met, for whatever reason. At such point as the WBA felt the negotiations had stalled, they made the demand for Joshua to make a deal with Povetkin within 24 hours. As a result, we are looking at a September 22 date for that.
Also, the WBA probably wanted to put Povetkin into that fight, due to the strength of his connections. And let’s face it – the WBA is going to do whatever it wants anyway; how else could one explain why they have kept Fres Oquendo in the picture as a mandatory challenger for their “regular” title for over four years, despite not being court-ordered to do so?
And hey – we’re not saying that Hearn didn’t want to avoid a Wilder deal, as has been implied, for the time being. Who knows?
But the fact of the matter – as we sit here today – is that if Joshua fights Wilder and not Povetkin first, we wouldn’t have an undisputed title fight anymore. Someone else would be the “real” WBA champion.
According to Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s co-manager, the offer to go to the UK was $15 million with a rematch clause. It wasn’t exactly “crack head money.” Instead, it was many times more than the career-high $2.1 million he reportedly earned when he eventually fought Ortiz.
When he mentions a “flat fee,” Wilder is making references to that offer, relative to what he his team (which includes Finkel and advisor Al Haymon) had previously proposed, which involved $50 million to Joshua to come to the States. This is the email sent from Finkel to Hearn, as it was reproduced at the Daily Express, a British news site:
With all due respect you know Al and I for a long time and you know this is not a Publicity stunt. I assure you that we’re serious and we would be glad to sit down with you and provide proper security for the funding and work out all the details. But it all has to start with Anthony Joshua accepting the $50 million offer that he asked for, which is also by far the largest guarantee and largest purse any heavyweight champion has ever made. Until then, it would be non-productive to meet. Please have Anthony accept the offer that he asked for and let’s get this fight made.
As far as that $50 million offer is concerned; well, if you remember one thing about professional boxing, remember this:
When it comes to the big money, there is never a deal until the contract is signed.
From Hearn’s standpoint, he never saw a contract and therefore was not just going to take it on faith that the money was real.
And the WBA just went down that road with the purse bid for their “regular” title, as a group connected to Oquendo and Chicago promoter Bobby Hitz came up empty when it was time to secure their $600,000 bid, ultimately leading to that fight (against “champion” Manuel Charr) being taken out of the Windy City and over to Germany.
There is a difference between wishing and hoping that you can produce enough revenue to support an offer, and actually having the strength to make a guarantee based on having those funds on hand, or knowing exactly where they are coming from. We’re not saying that they couldn’t get the money, but they may have been basing their offer on some unreasonably optimistic estimates. From what we’ve been able to ascertain, Wilder had been penciled in for about $12.5 million in this deal. So why wasn’t the $15 million offer from Hearn a better one? Because Wilder’s expectation is that he, and not Joshua, would participate in the upside from the offer described in Finkel’s letter, which, as mentioned, mandated that the fight take place on U.S. soil.
So would there indeed be some upside? Well, if you’ve got anywhere from $65-$70 million all-in, you are going to have to do a monster gate as a high-ticket item in Las Vegas, or, as we alluded to earlier in the story, sell out a place like Legion Field in Wilder’s home territory of Birmingham, which has over 71,000 seats. And a boatload of Joshua fans from overseas would have to make the trip. They’d have to get a very lucrative sponsorship deal of some kind. They would most likely have to do in excess of a million buys on Pay Per View in the United States. And they would have to do extremely well in the European PPV market.
I don’t really see it, though I could be wrong. Maybe it’s there. Maybe they had a way to secure those funds. But it’s a moot point now. And of course, we leave open the possibility that Joshua just doesn’t want to come and fight Wilder in the U.S.
Let’s also leave open the possibility that Wilder doesn’t want to fight Joshua at all.
Because now we have come to the next phase, which is the part where Wilder has now turned down an offer of $20 million from Hearn, who would allow him to fight an opponent, pretty much of his own choosing, in September or October (for $5 million), followed by an April bout at Wembley Stadium for the aforementioned $15 million.
He’s got a whole different idea of himself now.
As he told Brendan Schaub on an upcoming installment of Showtime’s “Below the Belt,” he’s not taking anything less than a 50-50 split.
In what universe would Deontay Wilder command financial parity with someone who can sell out a 90,000-seat stadium? Who made a reported $18 million for fighting Joey Parker and well over $20 million to fight Wladimir Klitschko? If Wilder was at that level, the 32-year-old, who has made seven defenses of his WBC title, would have made far more than a career-high of $2.1 million in a single fight. Truth be told, this fight would sell a lot more tickets in Birmingham, England than it would in Birmingham, Alabama.
I’m fairly certain Wilder isn’t increasing his value a whole lot here.
This isn’t the playground. It’s a business. And just as important as being able to exercise leverage is knowing when the other side can leverage YOU, because that’s how you determine when you have a deal you should take. Shelly Finkel ought to know this better than anybody.
And here are the basics of it: Deontay Wilder needs Anthony Joshua a lot more than Anthony Joshua needs Deontay Wilder. That is probably the MOST undisputed thing about this matchup.
As for Eddie Hearn; well, he is going to have his deal with streaming service DAZN in place, whether Wilder is on the menu or not. And although these events are ever-changing, he may just let Wilder sweat it out, trying to find someone to make a huge payday with. That road might lead nowhere.
Wilder told a reporter from British Boxing News on Friday, “I’m just glad the blindfolds are off the people’s eyes. Even casual fans can see what happened.”
Well, if you made me guess, I’d say even the casual observer has to wonder who’s driving the bus.
Joshua-Wilder Negotiations Fall Flat- Joshua to Face Povetkin Next
By: Sean Crose
After much hype and speculation about multi-tilist Anthony Joshua facing off against WBC titlist Deontay Wilder in a superfight for heavyweight supremacy, news has arrived that a Joshua-Wilder match won’t be happening in the near future. Instead, England’s Joshua will be facing Russia’s Alexander Povetkin, a mandatory for Joshua’s WBA belt. “We’re fighting Povetkin in September,” said Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn, “and we’re looking at multiple venues and dates.”
The thirty eight year old Povetkin was supposed to fight Wilder in May of 2016, but Povetkin tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, which led to the bout being scratched. Known as a formidable heavyweight, Povetkin’s one loss in 35 fights came against Wladimir Klitschko back when the Ukrainian dominated the division in 2013. Since that time, Povetkin has gone on to win eight straight, his last victory being a fifth round knockout of David Price in March of this year.
Joshua, on the other hand, boasts a 21-0 record and has ended all but one fight by knockout. He’s known to sell out entire stadiums in Great Britain and is now regarded as the sport’s biggest star aside from Canelo Alvarez. The WBA reportedly demanded Joshua fight Povetkin, under the threat of taking their title from around his waist.
“The WBA have allowed over a month extension to negotiations with Povetkin and also ongoing discussions with Deontay Wilder,” WBA President Gilberto Mendoza claimed on Tuesday. “It appears the Wilder team have not returned the contract for the fight and therefore we are requesting a date for the Joshua versus Povetkin fight with immediate effect.” Hearn subsequently responded that team Wilder would adhere to the WBA’s demands.
Some took to the internet to declare that the entire matter was concocted so that Joshua could avoid Wilder, his 40-0 American counterpart (like Joshua, Wilder has won all but one of his victories by knockout). Although both camps blame the other for a Joshua-Wilder throwdown not happening in the fall, Hearn has taken to pushing the chances of Povetkin in the September contest. “I think it’s a mad fight to take with the Wilder fight at the door,” said Hearn of the Povetkin bout, “but that’s AJ.”
“By (Joshua) fighting these guys,” Hearn claimed, “Wilder can’t say he’s afraid to fight him.” Wilder’s very public comments on the matter have suggested otherwise. “You coward ass bitch,” Wilder tweeted on Tuesday. “Had the world waiting for 3 months playing games just for this moment. You’re not a true champion!! You’re just a weak minded coward that’s holding hard metal. #Facts”
The most telling quote on the entire matter may have come from former heavyweight king Lennox Lewis, who weighed in on Thursday. “They way I see, it” he tweeted, “AJ is the man. He gets to choose time and place for first fight. I’d make Wilder come to me also… but from what I see from Wilder, he’s willing to… and this is same attitude i would have. When the HW division finally has a pulse, we need action not talk!”
Mark Breland On Team Joshua: “They Want Deontay To Fight Somebody Else”
by: Sean Crose
There was much hope earlier in the week that a heavyweight superfight between WBC heavyweight titlist, American Deontay Wilder and British multi-titlist Anthony Joshua would come to fruition. “BREAKING NEWS for all you @anthonyfjoshua fans,” Wilder tweeted. “The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”
In the matter of a few days, however, the excitement of the fight world began to fizzle.
There is now a growing belief that Joshua, who is known to sell out entire stadiums, or his team, are not particularly eager to get in the ring with Wilder at any point in the near future, even though it’s clear Joshua would be the favorite walking in. One particular person who doesn’t think team Joshua wants a piece of Wilder at the moment is Wilder’s own trainer, Mark Breland. Breland, a former Olympic gold medalist turned multi-time world welterweight champion admits that “eventually, they’re going to have to fight,” but he doesn’t believe “it’s going to happen any time soon.”
Breland, an extremely tall welterweight in his time (over six feet in height) has done exceptionally well with his supersized pupil, but is nearly Wilder’s polar opposite when it comes to personalities. Whereas Wilder has become famous for being loud and brash, Breland is quite and polite. He’s the nice guy to Wilder’s bad boy. Still, Breland isn’t a man to mince words. This is particularly true when it comes to team Joshua. “I don’t think they want the fight,” he says frankly. Breland makes it clear that, while Wilder is forever calling out Joshua whenever he fights, “when Joshua fights, he doesn’t talk.”
The perceived lack of a mutual eagerness to get in the ring hasn’t gone unnoticed. And while few would accuse Joshua of being fearful of Wilder, Breland feels the Joshua camp’s sentiment is “he doesn’t need Deontay. Deontay needs him.” Breland points out, however, that Wilder holds the WBC belt, long regarded as the crown jewel of boxing titles. “He’s got the top belt,” Breland says of Wilder, knowing that, without it, Joshua will never be seen as a completely dominant champ. In the meantime, Breland feels as if Joshua won’t be facing the kind of competition he should. “Ortiz,” he points out as an example. “That’s one fight they will not take.”
Although Wilder is the biggest fight that can be made at heavyweight, Breland believes team Joshua, led by Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn, are clearly willing to buck fan sentiment, at least for the time being. “They want Deontay to fight somebody else,” he says.
Are We Past the Main Stumbling Block for Wilder vs. Joshua?
By: Bryant Romero
Deontay Wilder and his team according to reports have finally agreed to an offer presented them to fight Anthony Joshua in the United Kingdom sometime later this year. This has been the main stumbling block in the very public negotiations between the two heavyweight champions. Obviously, the teams of both fighters want home field advantage for their respective fighter, since the one who has to travel would be at a clear disadvantage. Still, there is a clear A-side in the fight and that is Anthony Joshua who has insisted that fight with Wilder must take place in the UK, which is why negotiations have been difficult because of the location of where this fight will take place.
Now that finally Wilder and his team have agreed to terms for a bout in the UK, it would seem that this fight would no longer have complications in getting made for this year. However, promoter Eddie Hearn claims to have made this offer about 4 weeks ago and he is shocked to have finally heard back from Wilder. Hearn told the boxing media earlier this week that Wilder will be presented with a contract by the end of this week to fight Anthony Joshua. Perhaps Wilder knowing that Joshua is close to striking a deal with mandatory challenger to fight Alexander Povetkin in the fall hangs in the balance and doesn’t want to lose a gigantic payday for fear that Joshua could lose to Povetkin. Or Perhaps Wilder has come to realization that the risk is worth taking in traveling to fight Joshua since the alternatives for the Bronze Bomber are neither attractive nor the most financially lucrative.
Whether Wilder could potentially make more money by luring Joshua to the U.S. is up for debate, especially since Wilder would have to guarantee $50 million up front to Anthony Joshua who has never fought in the United States and has no proven track record of being a PPV draw here as well. The fact is even Deontay’s biggest supporters would be disappointed in the Joshua fight not getting made next, just to see Wilder take on Dominic Breazeale instead.
Wilder has long been criticized for the quality of his opposition and even though he got the win he much needed over a very dangerous Luis Ortiz, it’s Joshua who just 21 fights has already surpassed Wilder in accomplishments and names under his belt. Wilder needs this fight much more for his legacy and the chance to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Wilder vs. Joshua Unification Appears Likely
By: Eric Lunger
Can you say, “super-fight?” Can you say, “heavyweight unification in the UK?” Reports emerging late today from ESPN indicated that WBC Champion Deontay “the Bronze Bomber” Wilder has accepted terms offered by Eddie Hearn, who, of course, represents the undefeated WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO champion Anthony Joshua. That’s all four major belts, and the IBO belt thrown in for good measure.
ESPN reports that Shelly Finkel, Wilder’s manager, has “officially agreed to terms” with Eddie Hearn for a two-fight deal, with the first to take place in the UK, and a guaranteed rematch in the United States. Finkel was quoted that a contract was requested for signing, meaning that an agreement has been made verbally but details remain to be ironed out in writing. No mention of percentages was made.
So, the done deal is not done yet, but there is reason for sunny optimism. As to be expected, the irrepressible American champ let forth with a characteristic twitter blast: “the $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court.”
Joshua’s last outing was a twelve-round decision over talented and durable Joseph Parker of New Zealand. Previously undefeated, Parker relinquished his WBO belt to the charismatic British champion on consistent cards (118-110, 118-10, 119-109) in a competitive bout in Cardiff, Wales, in the end of March of this year. This fight ran Joshua’s record to an impressive 21-0, with 20 KOs.
Wilder’s last bout was an emphatic dismantling of heavyweight bogey man, and previously undefeated, Luis Ortiz of Cuba, also in March of this year. Wilder, now 40-0 with 39 KOs, has made no secret of his wish to face Joshua.
While both men boast stellar records, there is a sense among some in the fight game that Joshua is far from a fully polished fighter, while Wilder remains dynamically dangerous but flawed defensively.
Nonetheless, Joshua is a charismatic champion, a British fighter who wears his Nigerian roots proudly – both metaphorically by the way he comports himself and literally with his tattoos. Wilder can be brash and over the top at times, but he came into the sport in order to support his daughter, who was diagnosed with spina bifida. This is a match-up where both men are real role models. This is a match-up with passionate fans on both sides. This is UK vs US. Can you say, “Super-fight?”
Deontay Wilder Reportedly Agrees To Terms For Anthony Joshua Superfight
By: Sean Crose
🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨 for all you @anthonyfjoshua fans… The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose. pic.twitter.com/03PE8sk5x0
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) June 11, 2018
“BREAKING NEWS for all you @anthonyfjoshua fans… The $50M offer for him to fight me next in the US is still available. Today I even agreed to their offer to fight Joshua next in the UK. If he prefers the fight in the UK, the ball is in their court. It’s up to them to choose.”
The above was tweeted out Monday by WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who was making it clear that he he accepted Anthony Joshua’s terms to fight in England for his title, along with Joshua’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.
Photo Credit: Deontay Wilder Twitter Account
According to ESPN, Wilder’s co-manager, Shelly Finkel, stated the following on Monday: “We have agreed to the terms that Eddie has put out to us for a fight in the U.K.. Deontay has accepted his terms to fight in the U.K. Deontay sent an email to Joshua (Sunday) night and I sent one today to Barry Hearn and Eddie telling them that we officially accept the offer to fight under the terms they gave us and to send us the contract,”
As Wilder said, the ball is in the court of team Joshua now. Britain’s Joshua is considered the current king of the heavyweight division. Not only does he hold a majority of the prominent belts, his victory in a war over onetime long reigning division king Wladimir Kltischko established the fighter as the man to beat throughout the fight world. Yet America’s Wilder has been standing in the way of Joshua’s complete dominance. The fact that both men are the height of NBA stars and have devastating knockout power will make the bout, should it happen, a must see for fans – even casual fans.
The Joshua-Wilder deal, should it come to fruition, will consist of two fights, the first being held in England, the second in the United States. Joshua now regularly packs entire stadiums in his homeland and it would be no surprise if a match with Wilder would bring in a live audience of close to one hundred thousand people. The first fight would reputedly transpire this autumn.
The internet was set ablaze with today’s news, with some journalists and analysts acting as if the fight was already a done deal while others encouraged caution. The fact that a fight between two of the most exciting athletes in the world got so much closer to fruition, however, was enough to get pundits and fans alike talking.