Tag Archives: anthony

Less Money? No Live Audience? No Problem. Anthony Joshua Wants To Fight.

Posted on 05/16/2020

By: Sean Crose

It seems we’re always hearing about this or that “new reality.” The truth, however, is that Covid-19 has indeed brought about a new reality – at least temporarily. Boxing fans, like most sports fans, have had to sit out watching their favorite sport live for months now. Since the UFC recently began showing fights in empty arenas, however, the possibility of fighting without a live and in-person audience has suddenly become promising. Yet boxing is not the UFC. Top boxers aren’t underpaid for literally putting their lives on the line in order to earn a paycheck (if only the same could be said of all professional boxers). Something has to give. 

“I would definitely fight for the love of my sport,” WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua recently told Chris Mannix of Sport’s Illustrated. Joshua, it seems, is a top boxer who is willing to bend a little, who is willing to deal with the silence of an empty arena and the loss of some dollars in order to ply his trade. “I’m never too big to earn a buck,” he added. “It’s a Godsend to fight for that kind of money that I do.” Whatever one thinks of the towering Englishman, it’s hard not to nod in approval at his gamesmanship.  

That’s especially true in this era of fighters wanting to earn millions for relatively small challenges. Joshua told Mannix “It’s all about growth,” which makes sense when one considers what the past 12 months have been like for the 23-1 heavyweight. After being stunned in his American debut by Andy Ruiz last spring, Joshua changed tactics and easily boxed his way back to his title belts in a rematch last December in Saudi Arabia. The man is now clearly – and understandably – eager to see what else he can do as a professional fighter.  

Word has been making the rounds that Joshua might well face WBC and Lineal heavyweight champ Tyson Fury in what would obviously be a British superbout (like Joshua, Fury hails from England). Yet it’s hard to imagine Deontay Wilder, who Fury stopped last February, and Kubrat Pulev, who is in line to fight Joshua next, taking step aside money when both men are legally set to battle for slices of the heavyweight pie. No matter. Joshua is clearly ready to get back to the fight business…even if it costs him a few bucks and an electric atmosphere. Corny as it may sound, it’s the kind of attitude one expects from a champion. 

More Headlines

Joshua Officially Set To Face Pulev In England

Posted on 03/02/2020

By: Sean Crose

On June 20, I am defending my Heavyweight World Titles,” says WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. “I’m back in my home city after some time away. A spectacular stadium has been built in North London and I’m honored to bring the boxing community from all over the world to witness us make history with the stadium’s first Heavyweight World Title fight. The belts go back up in the air and nothing will stop me from being victorious.”Having regained the Title belts that he lost in stunning fashion to Andy Ruiz last spring (Joshua came back and bested Ruiz in impressive style last December in Saudi Arabia), Joshua is now set to defend those belts this June at Tottenham Hostspur Stadium. 

Joshua’s opponent will be longtime contender Kubrat Pulev. The 38 year old Bulgarian battled Wladimir Klitschko for Klitchsko’s IBF belt back in November of 2014. Klitschko ended up winning by fifth round knockout, but Pulev kept plugging. He’s won his last eight fights and will enter the ring to face Joshua with a record of 28-1. “I am happy to have the opportunity to show the world how strong I really am,” Pulev says. “Becoming a Heavyweight World Champion has always been my mission in life and on June 20, 2020 I will fulfill my destiny!”

Joshua, of course, has had quite a year from himself. Last minute replacement Ruiz not only stunned the world by besting Joshua in the Londoner’s American debut at Madison Square Garden last June, he beat the statuesque Englishman up. The 30 year old Joshua came back stylistically and professionally by boxing circles around a heavy Ruiz in December, reestablishing himself as a titlist. The division has changed since that time, however. Fellow Englishman Tyson Fury’s dominating win over Deontay Wilder last month has led many, if not most, analysts to view Fury as King of the heavyweight hill. Joshua may have more titles, but Fury is now essentially the big man to beat.

Before the 23-1 Joshua can attempt to assert himself over Fury (or Wilder, who is set to face Fury for the third time next summer) there is the matter of Pulev to deal with with. Promoter Eddie Hearn actually sees the impending Pulev battle as a big deal in and of itself. “I’m so excited to see Anthony Joshua return to the capital, 70,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is going to be very special,” Hearn says. “2019 was a crazy year that had everything – the only thing missing was a UK fight and as we go into what I believe will be the biggest year of ‘AJ’s’ career so far, all our attention turns to Kubrat Pulev in an absolute must win fight.”
Hearn points out that Pulev isn’t simply a face in the crowd. “Pulev is undefeated in six years,” says Hearn, “and his team and especially Bob Arum really fancy this. I think you are going to see something special from ‘AJ’ on June 20 – a destructive performance on the road to undisputed.”

More Headlines

Anthony Joshua Reportedly Facing Kubrat Pulev In June

Posted on 02/28/2020

By: Sean Crose

Numerous sources are now reporting that 38 year old Kubrat Pulev will be getting another shot at heavyweight glory. The 28-1 Bulgarian contender is set to face WBA, IBF and WBO world titlist Anthony Joshua on the 20th of June in Great Britain. There was talk after Tyson Fury’s brilliant victory over WBC champ Deontay Wilder last weekend that a Fury-Joshua match might go down, with all the major heavyweight titles on the line. Although the battle of British heavyweight kings may indeed transpire eventually, Joshua now appears set to face Pulev first, while Fury seems on his way to facing arch rival Wilder a third time in the ring.

Pulev’s first attempt at heavyweight supremacy occurred in November of 2014, when the then undefeated fighter faced the unquestioned ruler of the division, Wladimir Klitschko at the famed O2 Arena in Germany. It proved to be a rough night for Pulev, who Klitchcko dropped a total of three times before sending Pulev down and out in the fifth. Since that time, Pulev has gone on to face eight opponents, besting each one successively. The fight with Klitschko remains Pulev’s only loss to date in a career that has now spanned the course of ten-plus years.

As for Joshua, the 30 year old Englishman will be making his first defense after winning back his titles from Andy Ruiz last December in Saudi Arabia. Joshua looked to be the heavyweight division’s first among equals a year ago. Fury and Wilder may have also been undefeated, but Joshua was the one with the multiple belts. That all came crashing down at Madison Square Garden last June, when Andy Ruiz stunned the world by taking away Joshua’s undefeated record, as well as Joshua’s titles. No to be deterred, Joshua performed magnificently in the rematch and bested Ruiz via a one sided decision.

“I want to congratulate AJ and Eddie on regaining the title,” Pulev tweeted at the time, “and look forward to facing AJ in his next bout, as the IBF has ordered. The result is going to be different this time, I guarantee it!” Although no official announcement has been made, a match between Joshua and Pulev has been expected for some time now. This will be Joshua’s first fight in England in almost two years. He last fought at home on September 9th of 2018, when he struggled to defeat perennial Russian contender Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.

Although most fans would probably prefer to watch Joshua engage in a unifier with Fury, Pulev is Joshua’s mandatory, which means Joshua is playing by the rules of the game by giving Pulev another crack at the championship realm. It might also be noted that, although he failed miserably in the rematch, Andy Ruiz proved that anything is possible in the sport of boxing. Fans who look too far ahead regarding Joshua – or any fighter – do so at their own peril.  

More Headlines

Anthony Joshua’s Trainer Says Fight With Tyson Fury “Has To Happen”

Posted on 02/28/2020

By: Hans Themistode

There are certain things that everyone in this world needs. 

Air, food, water and for boxing fans, a unification contest between unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and Lineal as well as WBC titlist Tyson Fury. 

The Heavyweight division has been somewhat of a rollercoaster as of late. Unlike previous years where it seemed as though champions such as Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and others would never lose, we now have a group of champions that seem vulnerable. 

Of course those aforementioned champions all suffered defeat in their careers but at one point they seemed unbeatable. 

Did anyone ever believe that Mike Tyson, a man that would end a fight in the time frame that you went to the bathroom, would ever lose a fight? Or what about Wladimir Klitschko? He reigned over the division for over a decade. During his title run, there just didn’t seem like anyone out there who could come even close to putting it to an end. 

Yet, for this current crop of Heavyweight champions and contenders including Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Andy Ruiz Jr, Luis Ortiz and the just beaten Deontay Wilder, they have all shown their flaws. 

It makes the division both fun and unpredictable. Still, with so many great fighters the question has quickly become, who will be the last man standing? 

Deontay Wilder seemed like the clear choice. After all, he proclaimed that the division would have “one face, one name and that is Deontay Wilder”. The knockout artist seemed to be well on his way to achieving that goal until a one sided beatdown at the hands of Fury moved him away from the mountain top. 

Now, only Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua remain. 

Not only are both men from the United Kingdom, but they are also outstanding fighters who have gotten rid of everyone else that stood in their way. 

Now, with the smoke nearly clear, all that is left is for them to face each other.

Everyone involved wants the fight to materialize, and quickly. Fury has long claimed that Joshua would stand no chance against him, while Joshua has most recently stated that he wants the fight with Fury next. 

It would be a dream match if it were to take place next, but it is also unrealistic one. Deontay Wilder has already revealed that he will use his option to invoke an immediate rematch with Fury. Joshua on the other hand, must take care of business against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.

A win for either man is far from guaranteed, but count Anthony Joshua’s trainer, Rob McCracken, amongst those who believe that it must take place sooner rather than later.

“It has to happen,” said McCracken. ”It will be fantastic when they box each other – and they will do, down the line. The best fighting the best is what the world wants to see and, certainly, they are the two best heavyweights in the world right now.”

“Without a doubt it is fascinating, it is brilliant. We have two heavyweight champions ruling the world – when could you ever say that, in my lifetime? You never could. Big Josh and Tyson have done fantastically well. They are tremendous fighters. What they have achieved is remarkable, in their lives and their sporting careers. It is fantastic for Britain.”

More Headlines

A United Kingdom: Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury

Posted on 02/26/2020

By: Kirk Jackson

It wasn’t too long ago, unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (23-1, 21 KO’s) and newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion “The Gypsy King” Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KO’s) discussed the possibility of teaming up to take down the likes of former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KO’s).

Joshua’s reasoning for rooting and wanting to collaborate with the fellow Brit, “I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would. If that’s the case, I want Fury to win, because I just want to fight,” Joshua told Sky Sports.

“To have that fight here on British soil? Man, can you imagine that? Fury, if you need me for sparring, we’re going to fight one day. I’ve sparred Tyson Fury when we were kids anyway. I would go out to America and spar Tyson Fury and get him ready for this Wilder fight. Honestly, I think Fury might beat Wilder next time they’re out. That’s just my opinion.”

While Fury ultimately passed up Joshua’s offer, Fury embarked on his mission of redemption, defeating Wilder this past weekend via 7th round technical knock-out.

Fury accomplished a bit of history with his most recent win, becoming the first man to defeat two champions who had 10 or more defenses of their world championship – Klitschko with 18 title defenses, and Wilder with 10 title defenses.

With Joshua as the unified WBO, WBA and IBF champion and Fury as the WBC, Lineal and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion, this sets the stage for a huge confrontation. This sets the stage for a United Kingdom showdown – the first time ever in history.

In spite of this historic possibility, there are some in the Fury camp, doubtful of this dream match ever coming into fruition.

The father of the newly crowned WBC heavyweight champion John Fury, believes his son would embarrass Joshua and stop him. “They’re levels apart. You know like the aliens are like years in front of us in terms of brain power,” John Fury told IFL TV.

“That’s how my son is in front of Joshua in terms of ability. He can’t do it, he’s got slow feet, he has got some fast hands, he goes one-two, left hook, chin stuck in the air.”

“You’ve seen him, he’s blowing out of his arse the moment he has any pressure put on him. Tyson will do more than put pressure on him. He’ll be crying after four rounds. I don’t think you’ll see it, because he’s too frightened, he’ll retire before he faces Tyson. The Gypsy King will retire him before he even fights him. He hasn’t got anything to beat him with. He don’t need money. He’s a trillionaire, he don’t need it. So why would you muck your legacy by letting a big gypo spark you right out? End of.”

Fury promoter Frank Warren is not exactly buying Hearn’s recent statements of the unification between both sides – pointing out that Joshua has two mandatory defenses against to fight two different fighters.

Those obligations include an IBF mandatory defense against Bulgarian boxer Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev (28-1, 14 KO’s) and a WBO mandated defense against former undisputed cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KO’s). 

“He says a lot of things, doesn’t he? He says whatever suits him on the occasion,” Warren told TalkSport. “When we tried to make the fight before, it was a problem. He knows (Hearn) full well what his contractual obligations are. He knows his fighter (Joshua) has got a mandatory defense against Pulev and one against Usyk. So to get that fight on, a lot of people have got to be paid and looked after to step aside. Tyson has no problem fighting him, we’ve called the fight enough times. We’ve never changed our mantra. We’ll talk with Anthony Joshua’s management, we’ll talk to Freddie Cunningham and see what we can do. He would be the underdog and it doesn’t matter what he’s got to say, Eddie Hearn, it doesn’t mean a row of beans what he’s got to say at the moment. All those issues I’ve just mentioned have to be dealt with.”

The question of whether Fury retires, participates in the World Wrestling Entertainment, or faces Wilder in a third bout also remains as a possibility. Wilder for his part wants the trilogy.

“My guess is knowing him like I do that he will absolutely want to rematch,” said Jay Deas, Wilder’s head trainer and co-manager, said during the post-fight press conference.

“And, I mean, these guys have put on two tremendous fights already. So, I certainly think that the public will want it. And I think we’ll want it. And I think Fury’s team will want it. And so, it seems a natural. So, I think that’s what you’ll see happen.”

Time will dictate what the public demand is for the third fight. Something to consider is Wilder may be better suited to take a few tune-ups before taking on the “Gypsy King” for a third time. Fury fought two tune-ups after their first encounter and that plan turned out well for Fury.

However the puzzle pieces fit together progressing forward across the heavyweight division, one thing is certain. The heavyweight crown runs the United Kingdom.

More Columns

Eddie Hearn is Already Planning Tyson Fury vs Anthony Joshua

Posted on 02/23/2020

By: Hans Themistode

Victories don’t seem to last long in the sport of boxing. At most, you are afforded just a few seconds before the dreaded question comes. 

“Who do you want next?” 

For Tyson Fury, his victory parade lasted roughly a few minutes. 

August 8, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Eddie Hearn speaks at the press conference announcing the October 6, 2018 Matchroom Boxing USA card at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Fury just put together quite possibly the best performance of his career in defeating Deontay Wilder for his WBC title. Fury dropped, battered and manhandled Wilder all night long. It was a great, yet jaw dropping performance by Fury. But as he walks around with his newly won WBC title around his waist, he’ll have a new challenge awaiting him. 

“I’ve already spoken to AJ,” said promoter Eddie Hearn about the possibility of matching up Fury with unified champion Anthony Joshua. “He wants to go into this fight next.”

The excitement is great, but a bit unrealistic at this point. Joshua has already hammered out a deal to take on mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in June. Even if Pulev did decide to step aside, the contest would still be unlikely as Wilder has a rematch clause in their contract. 

Still, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Two British fighters holding all of the titles in the Heavyweight division is more than just rare. It’s never happened before.

“We have to make this fight happen. We will never, ever get the chance for two Brits to fight for an undisputed heavyweight world championship. I promise you we will do everything we can to make this fight. It has to happen. We will never get this opportunity in this sport to do this again with two Brits. I’ve already spoken to AJ – he wants to go straight into this fight next. He loves the Tyson fight, he has has zero fear of fighting Tyson Fury. He has been through everything already and he wants to be undisputed and this is the chance for our sport to have one of those legacy moments that we will never get the opportunity to have again.”

Fury vs Joshua is the sort of fight that fans dream of. Both fighters are at the top of their game and will have the chance to call themselves the best in the world if either of them is victorious. 

But this is a contest that will take some time to materialize. So for now, Fury will be given the chance to enjoy his win over Wilder. The new WBC champ impressed everyone around the world, including Hearn.

“I heard out of his camp he was going to be aggressive and go for it and I thought it was absolute madness and it ended up being genius from him and his team. Just a wonderful performance. What a time for British boxing – an incredible night. I felt like he could school him but I didn’t think he could school him and beat him up, and he did that.”

More Headlines

Anthony Joshua Acknowledges That He May Need to Drop One Of His Titles

Posted on 01/06/2020

By: Hans Themistode

Being a world champion has its perks. The checks are bigger and the recognition grows considerably but so does the obligations. 

In the case of Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) he is currently is facing one of those obligations. Actually, make it two. 

As the belt holder for the WBA, IBF, and WBO, Joshua has a long list of contenders awaiting him. 

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua, IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. 7th December 2019. Picture By Mark Robinson.

Joshua, of course, is fresh off a shutout win over Andy Ruiz Jr on December 7th, in Saudi Arabia. The celebration of winning back his world titles did not last long as Joshua has been given two mandatory contenders. Former title challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) for the IBF and the undefeated Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) for the WBO. 

Joshua might be a great fighter, but he isn’t a ubiquitous individual. The British born champion spent six long months training and preparing himself to win back his Heavyweight gold. To simply give away any of those titles outside of the ring doesn’t sound appealing, but it won’t make or break Joshua.

“I always said the belts do not represent me,” said Joshua. “I will stand as a champion, even if I have to give one up,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “It would give me an opportunity to face another world champion – I’ve beaten four world champions on my record now. If I give up a belt it creates more history and entertainment. If I have to, I’ll give it away – but I’ll get it back again.”

No one would complain if Joshua was forced to drop one of his titles in order to make a mega showdown with one of his fellow champions. The issue with that statement however, is that the WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) and Lineal champion Tyson Fury (29-0, 20 KOs) have one of seemingly two contests against one another starting on February 22nd. 

“Tyson is going to be back in the ring with Wilder on February 22,” said promoter Frank Warren. “And they will fight again, irrespective of who wins, in the summer. So that, at the moment, is all tied up.”

Although it isn’t exactly set in stone, if Joshua is indeed forced to drop one of his belts, it could open up the door for another up and coming fighter to snag the belt for themselves. 

In a perfect world, Joshua won’t be forced to drop any of his titles. But then again, the sport of boxing is anything but perfect.

More Headlines

Anthony Joshua Could Have His Own Version of The Rumble in The Jungle

Posted on 12/31/2019

By: Hans Themistode

The rumble in Saudi Arabia between unified Heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua and former champion Andy Ruiz Jr, was a historic one, but it just doesn’t compare to the Rumble in the jungle. That contest of course, took place between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman on October 30th, 1974 in the Congo. 

Joshua’s matchup against Ruiz plays second fiddle to Ali and Foreman for several reasons. Significance of the contest, two larger than life names and of course, the location. 

Photo Credit: Anthony Joshua Twitter Account

Becoming the next Ali is impossible. Many have him as the best fighter that has ever laced up a pair of gloves. Not Joshua, nor any other fighter will ever leave the sort of legacy that he left behind, but they can at least attempt to walk in his first steps. 

Between mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev for the IBF and Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO, there really won’t be much of a surprise in who he’ll be taking on, but in terms of where the contest could actually take place, that one might just surprise you.

“Eddie Hearn is exploring an option in the Congo,” said Joshua’s manager Freddie Cunningham. “There has been an approach.”

It’s not exactly the rumble in the jungle, but if a matchup between WBC titlist Deontay Wilder or Lineal champion Tyson Fury could happen in the Congo, well then now we’re talking. 

As fun as it is to sit back and think about these fantasy matchups, that’s all that they are, a fantasy. The matchups are just fictitious because of the unlikelihood of Joshua jumping inside of the ring against either of them at this moment, but also because apparently, Joshua and his team have other locations in mind.

“For the next fight, Africa is not the right time. But at some point he 100 percent wants it,” said  Cunningham. It went so well in Saudi that they will want to be kept in the loop. And there are always options in the UK – Tottenham’s stadium is great and local to where AJ grew up.”

For years fans in the United States have waited for Joshua to cross the pond and make his debut. In the process of waiting, Joshua dominated everyone. The moment that he decided to take a bout in the US however, he was surprisingly stopped in the seventh round against Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua would of course make things right when he outboxed Ruiz in Saudi Arabia on December 7th, but it now seems as though the unified champion has no intentions of returning to the US anytime soon.

“There are a lot of options internationally, but he does want to box back in the UK,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Tottenham would be keen to do it and it would be a nice stadium to do it in London.”

If Joshua truly won’t come back to the US for the foreseeable future then a contest in the Congo would at least be a historic one. Depending on the opponent. 

More Columns

The Tag Team Champions of the World: Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury

Posted on 12/19/2019

By: Kirk Jackson

The lineal heavyweight champion of the world Tyson Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) is pulling out every stop in preparation for his tentative rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s) scheduled for Feb 22.

First the changing of trainers from Ben Davison to Javan “Sugar” Hill. 

Now Fury may receive the addition of the highest caliber of sparring, in the form of unified WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KO’s).

What would be Joshua’s reasoning helping potential future opponent/rival for the biggest bout in his career thus far? 

“It’s not about me, it’s about the sport and the legacy,” Joshua said to Sky Sports.

“If he wants to create his legacy and he wants to be a future hall of famer, he (Wilder) needs to come and see us. You’ve got the two lords of the rings here. The last one to unify, undisputed, the division. I’ve got four, he’s got one. I just need one more.”

Earlier in the week, Fury took to his Instagram page to accept the offer presented from unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to help him prepare for the mega-fight.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>And <a href=”https://twitter.com/Tyson_Fury?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Tyson_Fury</a> has responded😲 <a href=”https://t.co/I20mWZmwx7″>https://t.co/I20mWZmwx7</a> <a href=”https://t.co/nJh1mNwi2O”>pic.twitter.com/nJh1mNwi2O</a></p>&mdash; Chris Lloyd (@ChrisLloydTV) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ChrisLloydTV/status/1206934316057542657?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>December 17, 2019</a></blockquote>

<script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

“I’ve just seen the video of Joshua saying he’d love to come and help me in camp and that I’d fight him quicker than Wilder, that’s for sure,” Fury said in the video. “When I beat Wilder, I will fight you, A.J., no problem.”

“I would love to have you in camp, really, really love to have in camp to work out for this fight and give Deontay Wilder a proper beating. I hope you mean it because I’d love to have you in training camp with me.”

For Joshua’s reasoning to assist Fury, he continued, “I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would. If that’s the case, I want Fury to win, because I just want to fight,”Joshua told Sky Sports. 

“To have that fight here on British soil? Man, can you imagine that? Fury, if you need me for sparring, we’re going to fight one day. I’ve sparred Tyson Fury when we were kids anyway. I would go out to America and spar Tyson Fury and get him ready for this Wilder fight. Honestly, I think Fury might beat Wilder next time they’re out. That’s just my opinion.”

This would not be the first time, top heavyweight talent collaborated together with each party eventually pursuing world titles and supremacy. Heavyweights throughout history have sparred together and fought later down the line

In the lead-up to the Rumble in the Jungle in 1974, Muhammad Ali worked with Larry Holmes to help prepare for George Foreman.

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield sparred each other in preparation for the 1984 Olympic Games. Tyson and Lennox Lewis also sparred one another in the 1980s.

Although each of these instances presented a different set of circumstances.

To clarify some of the comments from Joshua, he holds three, not four world titles recognized by the governing bodies, as the IBO belt is not recognized as a major world title in the era of alphabet belts. The recognition is the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF. 

Many questions come to surface with this proposed partnership between Joshua and Fury. Is this great sportsmanship or a concession of weakness and fear?

As unified world champion, Joshua presents the highest level of sparring, but he doesn’t have the same style as Wilder. How much can he help Fury?

Being that Fury and Joshua are tag team partners, halfway through Fury’s proposed rematch against Wilder, will he tag in and swap places with Fury to give him a breather?

Will they combine powers and perform the fusion dance like Dragon Ball Z characters?

<iframe src=”https://giphy.com/embed/TbYgHMnICI1A4″ width=”480″ height=”135″ frameBorder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”https://giphy.com/gifs/dragon-ball-z-dbz-TbYgHMnICI1A4″>via GIPHY</a></p>

Additional commentary to question from Joshua is his assessment of the legacy of his contemporaries. He referenced Wilder, stating if he wants to create his legacy and wants to be a future hall of famer, he must to come and see Fury and himself. 

Wilder and Joshua could not agree to terms to face one another. Wilder faced Fury already and is preparing to do so again, but with what Joshua is proposing sounds like a tag-team.

Joshua even has the name for this super group when he mentioned, “The two lords of the rings.” I guess the British Bulldogs were already taken.

One half of this lord of the rings tandem may be playing chess with the current pieces on the board. Using his pawn to attack the king.

Some observers may critique the style of Wilder, but it’s fair to suggest his punching power and style is something to be worried about. And it does not appear Joshua is screaming at the opportunity to face Wilder.

It’s not farfetched to speculate Joshua would rather face Fury as opposed to Wilder for stylistic purposes. For all the talk of Wilder’s discrepancies as a fighter, he is currently holding a historic reign a heavyweight champion and not too many guys are jumping in line to fight him.

“I said I only have six years in the sport that I wanna dedicate my energy and my passion to, and I mean that. So, I ask everyone to give me my roses right now,” Wilder said in his post-fight interview after defeating Luis Ortiz in their rematch.

“You know, give me my due respect and my credit right now. You know, I am here, and I ain’t going nowhere. My style is here. What I bring to boxing is here, and I ain’t going nowhere.”

“People always talk about skills and skills and skills. But as I can see it, I’m still undefeated. I’m knocking out everyone that I face. And these guys that have skills, they gettin’ beat. So, I mean, something got to – I mean, it speaks for itself. So, at this point in time, I need my due respect, please.”

Visions of a round-robin featuring Fury, Wilder and Joshua have been in discussion for a while now. It’s a possible reality. Joshua has a great promoter with Eddie Hearn, as does Fury with Bob Arum, Wilder is advised by Al Haymon and managed by Shelly Finkel.

From a fan-perspective it would be nice to see these match-ups. From a promoter’s perspective, the desire may be different. With great promotion comes the control of narratives, sometimes involving delusion. 

Meaning, the promoters may lay out grand statements without the desire of honoring their proclamations. Some of these statements in which serve as smokescreens. Which hurts the fans because this equates to certain fights not manifesting.

There are also false narratives of which may be perpetuated by certain members of the media. 

Journalistic integrity is for sale in some instances. Some reporters have received free rooms, among other expenditures – courtesy of Hearn and I suppose it is out of the kindness of his heart, correct?

This is all relevant because this fosters a cycle of deception and disinformation. With these precedents in place, who’s to say we’ll ever witness Wilder vs. Joshua or even Joshua vs. Fury – considering they’re the tag team champions of the world.

The tag tandem of Joshua and Hearn presently, is a powerful force. Might be the most powerful force in boxing. The partnership of Fury and Joshua is an interesting concept and it may be interesting to watch how it unfolds past the rematch between Fury and Wilder.

But for competitive purposes, the tandem of Joshua vs. Fury or vs. Wilder, no matter how it’s sliced sounds most appealing.

More Columns

Anthony Joshua Says He Wants To Unify Heavyweight Titles In 2020

Posted on 12/13/2019

By: Sean Crose

“I feel like it’s ‘Lord of the Rings’,” the BBC quotes WBO, IBF, and WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua as saying, “the last ring, let’s get it on, let’s make history.” That last ring, of course, is the WBC world heavyweight title, which is currently in possession of the thunderously hard hitting American, Deontay Wilder. Knowing that Wilder is due to rematch his countryman Tyson Fury in February, Joshua seems to be making it clear that he wants the winner of the much anticipated second Wilder-Fury bout. The Londoner was reportedly on the Zoe Ball Breakfast show when he claimed: “It has to happen in 2020, we’re in the same division, same era, if these guys want to make history, especially Wilder because he has the last belt.”

Photo Credit: Anthony Joshua Twitter Account

This, of course, is music to the ears of fight fans, who would love nothing more than to have a single heavyweight champion ruling over the division. One of the greatest complaints of those who follow the sweet science has long been the fact that there are too many belts and, subsequently, too many titlists. With that in mind, it was recently assumed that team Joshua was willing to let things stand as they are – at least for the time being. With his latest statements, however, Joshua has at least indicated otherwise. 

“We created history,” the multi-titlist is quoted as saying, “by becoming a two-time champion of the world and I feel like we can add to that legacy in 2020.” Joshua came back from a crushing defeat in highly impressive fashion last weekend in Saudi Arabia, when he handily bested Mexican-American Andy Ruiz, the man who had knocked him out and taken his titles last June in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Almost immediately, talks of a unification fight with Wilder and/or Fury resumed. And now it’s clear that Joshua is willing to stoke the fire.

Before setting his sights on a unification battle immediately, however, Joshua appears to be focusing on making a mandatory defense first. Kubrat Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk are currently in line for the WBO and IBF belts respectively. Although a title defense of one of those belts is likely in 2020, it’s hard to imagine Joshua defending both and while trying to unify in the same year. Step aside arrangements, however, are commonly made in the sport of boxing. The last time a fighter became undisputed heavyweight champion was when Lennox Lewis bested Evander Holyfield in their 1999 rematch. Twenty plus years have now come and gone since that moment. The current heavyweight scene, which is dominated by Joshua, Wilder, and Fury has led to general excitement around the possibility of a true divisional king emerging once more. 

More Headlines

Anthony Joshua to Deontay Wilder: “Come See Me”

Posted on 12/11/2019

By: Hans Themistode

After a one sided beating which resulted in him losing his Heavyweight titles in his first contest against Andy Ruiz Jr back on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, Anthony Joshua got his revenge in Saudi Arabia. He easily out boxed Ruiz in their immediate rematch and now has his sights set on the future. 

Joshua’s performance has received a mixed bag of both criticism and praise. Amongst those who were critical of his performance is WBC titlist Deontay Wilder. 

The aforementioned Wilder gave Joshua credit for managing to pick up the win, but was far from impressed. 

“He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day,” said Wilder. “Joshua’s mentality was to survive.”

Joshua’s new technique of jabbing and holding all night clearly rubbed Wilder the wrong way. Since those comments, Joshua has gotten the chance to place his celebrations on hold and respond.

“A lot of people just don’t have a good bone in their body to say something positive anyways,” said Joshua. “I just out boxed the Heavyweight champion of the world for 12 rounds. I don’t think I lost a round. Maybe one. I came in there with a great game plan. I’m successful. Isn’t that enough? You can’t box to keep everyone happy you have to box for the win. And I feel like when I’m at home celebrating, he’s there talking about negativity. Negative energy breeds failure so I’m just going to keep a positive mindset and build on that victory.”

With the WBA, IBO, IBF, and WBO titles back with Joshua, he has a seemingly endless list of opponents for his next contest. 

A rematch with Ruiz is certainly on the table. So is a contest against former title challenger Kubrat Pulev and former undisputed Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk as they both hold mandatory positions with the IBF and WBO sanctioning bodies. 

Although a contest against Wilder or even his fellow British rival and Lineal champion Tyson Fury is one that fights fans would enjoy to watch, it doesn’t seem likely that it will take place anytime soon. 

Both Wilder and Fury are scheduled to face one another in February of 2020 to put their own rivalry to bed. Joshua may not be in line to take them on, but make no mistake about it, he would certainly love to get a crack at both of them.

“With or without Wilder we are still going to break records, but if Wilder really wants to put his name down in the history books then I think he should come see me. I would love the opportunity to either beat Deontay Wilder or beat Tyson Fury.”

More Headlines

What’s Next For Anthony Joshua?

Posted on 12/08/2019

By: Hans Themistode

It wasn’t exactly on the level of their first encounter, but Anthony Joshua successfully won back his IBF, WBA, IBO and WBO Heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia. 

Ruiz informed everyone that Joshua would look to out box him this time around, and he was absolutely correct. You can criticize Joshua if you want, but he got the job done. With the Heavyweight titles back around his waist, it’s time for him to look ahead and figure out who would be the best option for him. 

Andy Ruiz Jr v Anthony Joshua, IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. 7th December 2019. Picture By Mark Robinson.

Let’s take a look at who he should jump into the ring next in 2020. 

Oleksandr Usyk

After clearing out the entire Cruiserweight division, Oleksandr Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) made his long awaited Heavyweight debut back in October earlier this year. He didn’t exactly look great against fringe contender Chazz Witherspoon, but he got the job done. 

As it currently stands, Usyk holds a mandatory position with the WBO. In fact, Joshua was just given 180 days to make the fight with Usyk happen or he would be stripped of his WBO title. Usyk has made it very clear that he wants his shot at gold in 2020. Fight fans would be ecstatic if this bout took place next. Hopefully, they’ll get their wish. 

Kubrat Pulev 

Much like Oleksandr Usyk, Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) is currently the mandatory for Joshua, this time around, for the IBF title. These two were scheduled to face each other in the past but the bout fell apart with Pulev suffering an injury. 

Since his lone defeat back in 2014 to Wladimir Klitschko, Pulev has gone on to win eight straight fights. He has done his part in fighting his way back up the ladder. It might not be the contest that fight fans want to see, but Pulev has earned his position and deserves a crack at the title. 

Andy Ruiz Again

After such a lackluster contest in their second matchup, there isn’t exactly a large number of people who are looking to see these two do it again. Yet, it has to happen, so why not sooner rather than later? 

Ruiz took home the stoppage win in the first bout, while Joshua boxed circles around Ruiz in the rematch. A tiebreaker between the two seems only fair. Fans might be ready to move on from this rivalry, but that can’t happen until a third fight takes place. It might as well be next.

More Columns

What to Make of The Extra Weight for Andy Ruiz…

Posted on 12/06/2019

By: Hans Themistode

Andy Ruiz Jr had time on his side this time around. Maybe too much. 

When the current unified Heavyweight champion stopped former belt holder Anthony Joshua in the seventh round of their contest back on June 1st, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, he had done so as a late replacement. Joshua was set to take on Heavyweight contender Jarrell Miller but had to change course once he was notified of Miller failing several drug tests. 

In stepped Andy Ruiz Jr on roughly five weeks notice. He was fresh off a win against Alexander Dimitrenko a few weeks earlier and lobbied for the fight against Joshua. Once Ruiz got his wish, it was understandable if he was going to come into the fight a little on the chubby side. 

With one day before the fight, Ruiz jumped on the scale at 268 pounds. Joshua on the other hand, came in at 247. Ruiz looked flabby while Joshua looked like a hand carved sculpture. None of that however, proved to matter as Ruiz knocked Joshua down four times en route to a seventh round stoppage. 

Following the win, both men took a different approach to the rematch. Although Joshua didn’t necessarily say anything, his goal was obviously to shed some of his hulking muscles. He did just that as he came into the rematch weighing 10 pounds lighter at 237. The muscles were still evident, but they weren’t as imposing as they once were. 

Ruiz on the other hand weighed in 15.7 pounds heavier than the first match at 283.7 pounds. It was difficult to conclude whether or not it was fat rather than muscle as Ruiz wore a black shirt that only exposed him arms during the weigh in. 

The weight gain of Ruiz would normally be a non topic if he had not promised to lose a few pounds for the rematch. 

“That’s something that we want,” said Ruiz during a conference discussing the rematch a few months ago. “For the last fight we had about a month and a week to train. I kinda wanted to be heavier for the first fight because Anthony Joshua is big and I wanted to carry his weight and take his punches well, but I think coming in 10 pounds lighter will make me a better fighter. I’m going to be faster and be able to let my hands go.”

Any worries of losing his power was also quickly dismissed.

“10 pounds isn’t going to make a difference,” Said Ruiz.

Now, there seems to be a clash of ideas. During a phone conference with trainer Manny Robles, he indicated that the weight loss was not going well.

“Andy said he was feeling drained,” said Robles. “So we decided to put the weight back on. He is going to weigh the same as he did for the first match.”

Now that Ruiz has tipped the scale even heavier than his trainer was expecting, this doesn’t sound like both the fighter and trainer are on the same page. 

Could the success have gotten to the head of Ruiz? It’s difficult to say but this gives an eerie similar feeling of Buster Douglas vs Evander Holyfield almost 30 years ago. 

Whether the extra weight will help or hurt Ruiz will soon be found out. 

More Columns

Andy Ruiz Weighs In At A Huge 283 LBS

Posted on 12/06/2019

By: Sean Crose

Andy Ruiz’ trainer, Manny Robles, said on a conference call Thursday that he expected the defending WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion to weigh around 268 pounds for his Saturday rematch with Anthony Joshua, who Ruiz bested in stunning fashion last June. On Friday, a fully clothed Ruiz stepped onto the scales in Saudi Arabia and weighed in at a whopping 283 pounds. That was between ten and twenty more pounds than the Californian weighed when he fought Joshua the first time – a fact that immediately got the internet buzzing. As for the challenger, Joshua – he came in at a lean and mean 237.

Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua weigh in ahead of their IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships fight tomorrow night in Saudi Arabia. 6th December 2019. Picture By Dave Thompson

Much will be made of Ruiz’ weight gain in the brief amount of time leading up to Saturday’s fight. Images of James “Buster” Douglas will undoubtedly be floating through the heads of fans and analysts alike. For it had been whispered that Ruiz had been partying rather hard before camp. Ruiz also missed a conference call with the media that he was supposed to be on Thursday. Although it would be wrong at this point to slip into conjecture and gossip, such things become newsworthy when a fighter hits the scales at the weight Ruiz did on Friday in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua was essentially the toast of the fight game when he slipped in between the ropes to face Ruiz last spring. A last minute replacement for Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller, who had tested positive for a banned substance, Ruiz was seen as little more than a glorified tune up. The skilled contender took Joshua to school after being knocked down in the third round, however. For Ruiz went on to drop Joshua a total of four times and stopped his man in the seventh. It was a stunning turn of events, especially when one considers the Madison Square Garden hosted fight was the popular Joshua’s American debut.

Much ink and air has been given in speculation as to how Saturday’s rematch will turn out. Although many, if not most, expect to see a different Joshua than the aggressive hitter who lost his belts last spring, there are those who have also been wondering if Ruiz will show that he can consistently perform at the level he did during the first fight with Joshua. And, although there’s room for speculation – no one knows how this bout will turn out until the opening bell rings on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

More Headlines

The Empire Strikes Back!? Starring Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz

Posted on 12/06/2019

By: Kirk Jackson

Over the course of time, historic empires experience a meteoric rise through careful craft and many, as is the scope of life, eventually fall. Historically, the Roman Empire, the Qing dynasty, Byzantine Empire and Ghana Empire are just a few that come to mind.

From a fictional standpoint, The Galactic Empire of Star Wars fame, is arguably the most well-known dominion.

In boxing, greats such as “Sugar” Ray Robinson, Joe Louis, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather have all enjoyed experiences as the most polarizing constellation, amongst the solar system.

This current era was supposed to be Anthony “AJ” Joshua’s (22-1, 21 KO’s) reign.

Joshua was the pugilistic version of the British Empire. Like the British Empire, he fulfilled his own version of sovereignty; through championship unification and by capturing three of the four world titles in the heavyweight division.

But like Luke Skywalker, flying the X-wing down the Death Star’s channel, manufacturing the shot that destroyed the Death Star, Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz (33-1, 22 KO’s) playing spoiler, contrived the left hook that led to a series of knock downs for Joshua.

Ruiz would ultimately pummel Joshua into submission, earning victory in spectacular fashion and leaving the Joshua Empire in shambles.

Staying with the Star Wars theme, Ruiz epitomizes A New Hope – as it relates to the current dynamic of the heavyweight division.

While we have other champions, other great fighters such as WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (43-0-1, 42 KO’s) and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury (29-0-1, 20 KO’s) battling it out amongst each other in recent times, Joshua remained isolated from those challenges in his own realm.

While capturing three world titles may be deemed as impressive regardless of circumstance, it appeared there wasn’t a willingness from his side to face Wilder, or even Fury for that matter. Which is not to suggest those bouts would not manifest from fantasy to reality and there still is a chance of these bouts occurring eventually.

However Wilder believes the dreams of unification will not happen if Joshua regains his titles over Ruiz.

“I’m looking forward to him defeating AJ (Anthony Joshua) and winning a second time. He has all the momentum and courage. He knows what to do and I think he’s going to be victorious,” said Wilder to reporters.

“It would be great for boxing if he wins because then we can finally have a unification bout. One champion, one face, one name. ‘That’s not the case if AJ wins, he’s already stated that he has no interest in fighting me no more. In the heavyweight division it’s all about unifying the division. When you have two fighters who are in agreement about that then you have no choice but to go for that fighter and you want that fighter to win. There should just be one champion in this division…so go Ruiz!”

Backed by the current WBC heavyweight champion, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone with a bad word to say about Ruiz. Even his former promoters speaks of the highest esteem regarding the first ever heavyweight champion of Mexican ancestry.

“We let Andy go because of the financial demands he was making,” said former promoter Bob Arum to Boxing Scene.

“We thought they were too high for us. We have never had anything but the utmost respect for Andy. He’s a terrific kid. He’s great. We enjoyed working with him. But these things happen. We didn’t renew with him and he went elsewhere and hit the lottery. Great for him. He deserves whatever he gets because he’s a nice person. When we parted with Andy, we made the right move. It happens.”

It’s possible Ruiz is introducing his own version of the Age of Discovery – ushering new life into the division and bringing about the possibility of unification bouts against Wilder and or Fury.

Since defeating Joshua this past summer, Ruiz has enjoyed his newfound wealth and acclaim to fame. A combination of buying lavish gifts for his family, performing charitable acts and living like a rock star, Ruiz realizes his distinction as heavyweight champion, affords these types of opportunities and does not want to relinquish the throne.

“Of course, I don’t want these beautiful belts to go away,” Ruiz said in the final press conference leading up to the rematch.

“Remember, I’ve been doing this since I was 6 years old. It’s finally paying off and no way I’m going to let these belts go. I’m going to die trying, and do anything that’s possible to get that victory. It’s been a long journey, a long roller coaster in my life, and no way I’m going to let these go Dec. 7. Let the best man win.”

Entering the rematch this weekend, we have the champion with retention on his mind. Also, the mindset of the former champion, now turned challenger, with the mentality of retaliation and retribution.

Joshua shares certain parallels with the Galactic Empire of Star Wars. While Joshua’s promotor, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, isn’t Emperor Palpatine and Joshua is not some treacherous force of evil, there is a collection of fans and media alike who dislike the former champion.

Sometimes a dominant force is not liked or accepted for whatever reason. The New England Patriots have many detractors, as with the New York Yankees. Different variables for each respective entity, but it doesn’t matter if you’re well liked. Kings and Queens rule regardless.

Referring back to Star Wars, the Empire regained control in the sequel and it remains to be seen if Joshua can do the same. He may tap into darker forces to create the result he wants.

As mentioned earlier, subsequently in spite the events of A New Hope, the Empire still maintained control of the galaxy. Joshua is still the premier star heading into the rematch and regarded as the favorite. He is considered by most United Kingdom-based media outlets as the biggest star in the division.

In spite of the upset loss to Ruiz, all it takes is victory in the rematch and things can return to how they once were for Joshua.

Any aura of invincibility is certainly erased, but new levels of greatness may be on display by showcasing he can combat through adversity and show he never lost love or passion for the sport.

“I’ve been in boxing a while now and when I came into boxing, I didn’t come to take part, I came to take over, with full force, fully committed,” said Joshua in a press conference. “The focus has already been there but I never had a chance to reflect.”

“European Championships, World Championships, Olympics, British title, world title, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I am not here to put on a show, I am just here to win. I’ve been around the block in this game in a short space of time. So I have to understand that I am definitely experienced, I know what I am doing.”

“I still enjoy it 100%, because I am getting better all the time. You have someone like Vasyl Lomachenko, who is great but then you have some who get better with every fight, like Canelo Álvarez, and that is what I am. You are going to see me get better every step of the way. One loss can’t strip your skin off overnight, when you put your solid foundations in, one chip in the brick can’t destroy the whole building.”

If earlier claims are to remain true, as far as obtaining domination of the sport, Joshua must win this weekend. Moving forward, he must also conquer America. That means an eventual showdown with the Bronze Bomber.

If Joshua wants to establish complete supremacy, that may entail challenging another monarch. The Gypsy King.

“Me and Andy are very different, but the only thing that all of us in this room have in common is time. I have had to use my time very wisely. I didn’t lose any heart, I didn’t lose any fire in my belly. I’m just really looking forward to it. There’s no fear in my heart, no fear in my eyes, no fear in my mind.”

Joshua aims to complete the ultimate tale of redemption this weekend at Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Will the Empire strike back?

More Columns