Wilder Trainer Mark Breland Weighs In On Upcoming Fury Bout
By: Sean Crose
“I don’t think they want the fight,” world welterweight champion turned top trainer Mark Breland told me earlier this summer. “When Joshua fights, he doesn’t talk.” The Joshua Breland was referring to, of course, was heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua, who holds every major belt in the division except for the WBCs famed green strap. That particular item is in the possession of the man Breland works with, Deontay Wilder, an individual who has been calling Joshua out for ages. That highly anticipated fight still hasn’t been made. What’s more, Joshua, unlike Wilder, “doesn’t talk” much about chomping at the bit to face his championship counterpart, leaving many to think – fairly or not – that the man isn’t interested in facing Wilder at the moment.
When we spoke in June, Breland made it clear he felt Joshua, who has defeated former long reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko in thrilling fashion, is content taking his time on the matter. “Eventually,” he told me, “they’re going to have to fight.” Breland indicated, however, that he doubted “it’s going to happen any time soon.” Breland also pointed out that Joshua was living high at the moment. “He doesn’t need Deontay,” Breland said of team Wilder’s mindset. “Deontay needs him.” How times change. Former heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, who wrested the title away from Klitschko in 2015, has come back to the ring after some hard times and is now set for a heavyweight superfight – against Wilder, not Joshua. No doubt it must seem strange to Joshua that the biggest heavyweight fight right now is between Wilder and Fury, a man who has dismissively referred to Joshua as “the other chump.”
Yet when we spoke on Sunday, Breland himself noted the strangeness of the sudden turn of events. “A little bit,” he said after I asked if he was surprised his fighter would soon be facing Fury in the ring. Wilder-Fury is a huge risk for both men, as a fight with Joshua would probably bring each fighter more money and accolades. As Wilder said over the weekend, though: “This is what we’ve been waiting for…the best fighting the best.” Wilder will have a challenge for himself when he faces Fury (the date and location of the match will be announced this week). Standing at almost six feet, nine inches in height, the Englishman can be incredibly – and surprisingly – slick.
“There’s going to be a slight difference,” Breland said of Wilder’s training camp this time, “because Tyson is tall.” Wilder, he says, will “just have to adjust to someone taller.” Breland, who was a gold medal Olympian, as well as a professional world titlist, still isn’t impressed with how Joshua is handling his career. “I’ve been in boxing for a long time,” he told me. “When you’re a champion…normally you have to face the (top) person whose up next.” Joshua’s next bout will be on September 22nd, when he faces Alexander Povetkin, a top challenger, but not a current or former titlist.
Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder Heavyweight World Championship Announced For Later This Year
WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury announced on Saturday that they have agreed to a heavyweight showdown later this year. The announcement was made in Belfast immediately following’s the undefeated Fury’s shutout decision of Francesco Pianeta. VIDEO: https://s.sho.com/2vVYtlj
Wilder vs. Fury, a 12-round matchup for Wilder’s WBC Heavyweight World Championship, will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. A date and venue for the event will be announced shortly.
The 6-foot-7 Wilder is 40-0 with 39 knockouts and American’s only heavyweight champion since 2007. The 6-foot-9 Fury is a former IBF, WBA and WBO Champion who has never been defeated in 27 professional fights.
The Ultimate Showdown of Boxer vs. Brawler: Fury vs. Wilder
By: Dylan Smith
The Battle of the Behemoth
Could this be it? The greatest pugilist Giants waging war to win the ultimate title of Super Heavyweight Champion of the world and could the victor be crowned as the GOAT?
Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder are the longest bodied out of the top ranked heavyweights in the world with a combined wingspan of over 5 meters and each stretching over 6 feet 7 inches tall. Tyson Fury is back in the ring and has proclaimed he wants to take back his titles, which he never lost in the ring and even go on to defend them to match the great Joe Luis’ record of number of defences. So far Fury has done what he set out to do by beating Vladimir Klitscho on his home turf against all the odds so why now, even after his 2 year lay off, should we doubt him? One of the reasons could be the climate of the heavyweight division has drastically changed with rough tough young competitors like Joseph Parker and hard hungry powerhouses like Dillian Whyte who pose massive threats to Tysons unbeaten record and dreams of a glory. The British public and the world however do love a comeback story and an underdog as they are dramatised in classic films such as Rocky. So has he got the minerals? Usually for such a large man you wouldn’t see this kind of movement however Tyson floats around the ring turning, slipping and ducking like a man half his size normally would. His technique is masterful and you can tell he has crafted his skill over a number of years, dedicated his life to boxing. Some say he doesn’t hit hard for a large heavyweight but even if he doesn’t hit like AJ or Wilder he more than makes up for it with precision, speed and timing with 19 ko’s out of 26 contests. Tyson Fury throws every punch in the book from every angle and has an awkward style where he can switch stances, fight long or up close, spoil and counter on the entry and exit from the clinch. He is used to going to the champions turf so will he be the man for the job and can he shock the world again and prove all the doubters wrong in becoming the
WBC heavyweight champion of the world?
Deontay wilder is an absolute knockout artist with a phenomenal record of 39 ko’s out of 40 contests in which he has knocked out every opponent he has ever faced as a professional in the squared circle, as in the rematch against Bermaine Stivern he managed to take him out in literally the last second of the first round. His name appropriately resonates his fighting style as he is famous for throwing wild hooks and hurtful haymakers. He started off more of a brawler and still is, however his skill set has massively improved over the years. He has honed in on his accuracy of shots and has a fantastic snappy jab, he also displays his improved boxing intelligence with the shot selections and combination punches he throws, displayed recently against Luis Ortiz where he annihilated him in the 10th round after being shook himself earlier in the fight. Still with all that skill he still loves to bang out that straight right hand and possesses that one punch knockout power that could shut anyones lights out if it touches them anywhere on the head. Wilder likes to brawl and bash his opponents, break them down and finish in fierce savage style. We can talk attributes: length; power; speed and both fighters tick all of the boxes, also both have unbeaten records. It will then be a case of who can make the other one fight their style. Fury will box and spoil and Wilder will shake him off and look for the overhand right as Tyson enters the clinch. Or will Wilder want to box long and display his pugilist skills and shock everyone like Fury did to Klitschko. The likelihood is however Fury will bob and weave and Wilder will get more and more desperate and keep firing the right hand until it finds a home on Fury’s head.
With the deal being reported by Frank Warren (Tyson Fury’s promoter) as nearly done for December we may see how it plays out. Are we going to be given an early Christmas present? Will we see these 2 colossals collide in the ultimate mammoth match of boxer versus brawler for the most prestigious title in Boxing? I hope so.
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.
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.
Joshua Asking for A Two Fight Deal with Wilder
By: Ken Hissner
Just when you think you have heard everything WBA, WBO, IBF & IBO Heavyweight Champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua announced over ESPN Radio recently he wants a “2 fight deal with Deontay, “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder.
First one will be in the UK possible Wembley Stadium in London holding 100,000 seats. The second one in the USA possibly Texas Stadium in Dallas, Madison Square Garden, NY, or Las Vegas have been mentioned.
Photo Credit: Anthony Joshua Twitter Account
What Joshua, 21-0 (20), of Watford, UK, doesn’t realize if it turns into another Joshua-Joe Parker sparring session who would pay to see a second one? Wilder, 40-0 (39), of Tuscaloosa, AL, waited until who this writer considers “the most dangerous heavyweight in the world” Cuban Louis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28-1 (24), of Miami, FL, punched himself out before he went on the offense. There will be no rematch from the Wilder team.
Joshua’s last two fights have been “lack luster” after what was his most exciting bout against former world champion Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko in April of 2017 when Joshua had to come off the canvas to stop his 41 year-old opponent in the eleventh round to retain his IBF, IBO, WBA titles.
After struggling to stop late substitute Carlos Takam, 35-4-1 (27), from the Cameroon now residing in Seine-Saint-Denis, FR. Takam had been knocked out by former Olympic Gold Medalist Alexander “Russian Vityaz” Povetkin, of Chekov, RUS, then 27-1, in 2014, now 34-1 (24), who in March knocked out UK’s David Price, 22-4 (18), as the co-feature of the Joshua-Parker main event. Povetkin is the No. 1 contender in both the WBA and WBO and a likely opponent for Joshua if the Wilder bout doesn’t materialize.
Wilder’s No. 1 WBC contender if Jamaican Dillian “The Body Snatcher” Whyte, 23-1 (17), of London, UK. In his last bout he won the WBC Silver title knocking out Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne, now 25-1 (22), from Sydney, AUST, in a lopsided bout in March.
Whyte called out Wilder after the victory over the previously unbeaten Browne. Wilder coming to the UK to fight Whyte and Joshua in the main event of the same show defending against Povetkin would be the only reason to delay a Joshua-Wilder bout in the UK. Ortiz was the first No. 1 contender Wilder has defended against in his seven defenses. In November of 2017 he destroyed an out of shape Haitian Bermane “B.WARE” Stiverne, now 25-3-1, in 2:59 of the first round. Stiverne is the only Wilder opponent to have gone the distance with him in January of 2015.
The best situation would be in the Main Event Joshua against Wilder in the UK for all the titles with Povetkin and Whyte in the co-feature fighting the eliminator to meet the winner of the main event within six months.
Fury Responds to Klitschko, Shows Respect for Joshua and Wilder
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury has shrugged off Wladimir Klitschko’s claims that he will lose to Anthony Joshua and disappear from boxing “like a fart in the wind”.
Speaking to Michelle Joy Phelps of Behind the Gloves, Fury was unmoved by his former adversary’s words, stating “well that’s typical Wladimir Klitschko, he would never be able to give me the credit that I deserve.”
It’s no secret that Klitschko isn’t a fan of the “Gypsy King”, who constantly tormented him in the build-up to their world title fight nearly three years ago.
Fury rubbed further salt into the wound by comprehensively out-boxing him in Cologne and says “even on the night in Germany he couldn’t make the effort to say he lost to a better man and he did.”
“He didn’t just lose, he got played with. Like I’ve said time and time again, if that’s the so-called super-champion, he got beaten by a fat man so how dare he talk to me like that,” Fury says.
Klitschko says Joshua will beat Fury because he has more desire and discipline than the Manchester native.
However, Fury feels that the Ukrainian is only backing “AJ” because he has a better relationship with him and says the former lineal heavyweight champion is still bitter about losing to him all those years ago.
“I’m sure him and Joshua are chum buddies and they support each other, but in hindsight we know who gave Wladimir the hardest fight,” he says.
“Joshua won by the skin of his teeth and had to climb off the canvas, Wladimir couldn’t land a punch on me in 12 rounds,” according to Fury.
Prior to his hiatus from the sport, Fury had a reputation for trash-talking his opponents and getting under their skin.
However, he has had plenty of nice things to say about Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder recently.
“I think they’re very fine specimens of men, they’re very good looking, they’re very athletic and they’re very good boxers,” he says.
“They’ve come from nothing and I’m so proud that they’ve changed their stars, their family, everything. I’m sure they’re getting everything they’ve ever dreamed of,” Fury says.
He bears no ill-will towards either fighter and hopes that they will be set for life by the time their careers are over.
“People are talking about $50 million, I think they deserve $250 million. Any fighter that gets in there and gets punched in the face for a living deserves a lot more than they ever get,” he says.
“It’s the hardest sport in the world, not just physically and mentally, but also being away from your family, being locked away in training camps,” according to Fury.
“The public don’t understand how much pain, torture and sacrifice is needed to get to that level of success,” Fury says.
Fury believes that Wilder will prevail when they finally face each other in the ring, however, as he holds a speed advantage.
“Wilder’s very quick and very accurate and he’s very dangerous,” he says.
“Anthony is dangerous too, but I just think the speed factor favours Wilder and the fighter who gets there quicker and first will be Wilder for me,” according to Fury.
He has had a tense relationship with Joshua in the past, but Fury insists he is not biased.
“I don’t like either of them more than the other. I know Joshua, I know Wilder, and I’ve met them both face to face. I like them equally,” he says.
“It is a heavyweight bout and anything can happen while they’re in there, but if I was putting 20 quid on it, I’d put it on Wilder to win,”
If the fight materializes, Fury will certainly be watching with interest as he is likely to face one or both men in the future.
Joshua vs. Wilder: Who Wins?
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Boxing fans have been spoiled over the last month with many of the heavyweight division’s biggest names in action, including Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Joseph Parker, Luis Ortiz, Alexander Povetkin, Dillian Whyte and Lucas Browne. All eyes were on Joshua and Wilder though as they faced major tests that could derail their highly anticipated unification bout.
Of all the heavyweights in action, Joshua was the biggest winner, adding another heavyweight belt to his collection with a solid but uninspiring victory over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff last week.
Boxing purists praised Joshua’s performance as he fought a safe and intelligent fight against a dangerous opponent. He kept Parker on the end of his jab, nullified his speed advantage and landed the cleaner, harder shots, while keeping himself out of harm’s way. Parker had his moments but he never really got going, struggling to close the distance or do any damage on the inside.
Joshua has been hailed as the future of the heavyweight division for some time and his latest victory will keep that hype and momentum going, but this was not the type of performance we expected.
He came into the fight with a reputation as a knockout artist, but it’s safe to say fans felt a little underwhelmed by the fight. Many predicted that it wouldn’t go the distance and Joshua’s perfect knockout record as well as his epic war with Waldimir Klitshcko, gave us reason to believe it would be a brutal, action-packed affair. Add in the animosity between both camps and you’d be forgiven for expecting Joshua and Parker to slug it out, toe-to-toe, until only one of them was left standing.
Nonetheless, Joshua got the job done, coming through unscathed and showing another dimension of his game. It turns out he’s not just a power-puncher, he’s one of the best pure boxers in the heavyweight division.
For all the positives though, the fight also suggested that Joshua may not be able to dominate the division’s truly elite fighters the same way he did lesser opponents.
Wilder claimed the most important victory of his career against the undefeated Cuban, Luis Ortiz, at the Barclays Center, New York, just a month ago. Many felt this would be a difficult test for the bronze bomber, who had been criticised for facing weak opposition in the past.
Ortiz was avoided by all of the big names in the division due to his excellent amateur pedigree, boxing ability and knockout power. All of these attributes were evident on the night as Wilder struggled to figure the Cuban out and found himself in trouble on a number of occasions. For the first five rounds he struggled to land anything of note on the Cuban, who controlled the pace of the fight and forced him backwards constantly.
Then in the seventh round, Wilder was rocked multiple times and found himself trapped on the ropes, desperately hanging on amid a flurry of brutal shots from Ortiz. Although he survived, he seemed headed for a loss on points until he stopped the Cuban in the 10th round.
Like all great champions do, Wilder overcame adversity, patiently waiting for the opening he needed, even as the 12th round drew nearer. He didn’t panic or let his frustrations get the better of him while he was being outboxed.
The American was clearly confident that the opening he was looking for would eventually come and when it did, he made Ortiz pay. In the end, the fight didn’t tell us anything new about Wilder’s strengths and weaknesses, which boxing experts have picked apart for some time. However, we saw how he responds under pressure against top-level opposition and he passed that test with flying colours.
Strengths and weaknesses of both fighters
Wilder is a gifted 6’7”athlete with good speed for his size, exceptional strength, solid cardio and proven knockout power. But many have criticised his technique, particularly the wild, windmill punches he throws when he is chasing a knockout. They are certainly not easy on the eye and Wilder often leaves his chin out when he throws them.
His defence is also poor, leaving him highly susceptible to good counter-punchers who can cope with his attacks.
Despite his length and reach, lesser fighters than Joshua have been able to close the distance against Wilder, which is a major concern.
His weaknesses are well-documented, but Wilder uses his power and athleticism extremely effectively and few fighters are able to survive when he starts swinging at them, wildly or not. The big question mark around him was always whether his power and ferocity could also overwhelm the division’s true elite. His victory over one of the most skilled and feared heavyweights in the world went a long way towards answering that question.
Joshua is 6’6” and has made a habit of demolishing his opponents early, knocking out all but five of his 21 opponents within three rounds.
The consensus among the experts is that Joshua has better fundamentals than Wilder and his ability to control the pace of the fight is one of his biggest strengths.
His string of knockouts are not just down to his power, but also his excellent positioning and tactical awareness. He puts fighters on the back foot and in awkward positions where they are forced to commit to risky shots that leave them open to a knockout blow. This could spell danger for Wilder as ring positioning is one of his biggest weaknesses.
He allows his opponents to walk him down far too easily for a fighter of his size and he gave up a lot of ground against Ortiz. He was backing up so much that he couldn’t land a significant counter and if he does the same against Joshua, he will be in all sorts of trouble.
Joshua certainly has defensive weaknesses too. He looked quicker and sharper against Parker after weighing in 12 pounds lighter than his previous fight against Carlos Takam, but his lack of head movement is a major weakness that could be exploited.
When you are fighting someone as outsized as Parker it’s not as much of an issue, but Wilder has the length and the awkward, loopy style to take advantage of it. Joshua’s poor head movement could also leave him susceptible to Wilder’s underrated jab, which he didn’t use very effectively against Ortiz, mainly because the Cuban is a southpaw, but Joshua is an orthodox fighter. If Joshua fails to avoid the jab, he will likely be vulnerable to a straight right-hand, which could prove fatal against someone with Wilder’s power.
It’s hard to say who will win this fight when it finally happens. Joshua is certainly the favourite, but not an overwhelming one. It’s not quite a 50-50 fight, but it’s pretty damn close.
One thing’s for sure, boxing fans are eager to see these two battle it out for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world sooner rather than later.
Deontay Wilder International Media Conference Call Postponed
The international media conference call for undefeated heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder has been postponed and will not take place today at 2:30 p.m. ET.
A new date for a media call with the heavyweight champion will be announced in the coming days. We apologize for any inconvenience.
In the meantime, see below for a statement from Deontay Wilder:
“First of all, I want to congratulate Anthony Joshua on his win last Saturday night. Anthony, I am so glad we finally heard from you on Saturday and that you want to fight me as your next opponent and you want the fight to happen in the UK.
“I accept that challenge and I am ready to come to the UK for my next fight. There is nothing on Team Wilder’s side to prevent me from fighting you next.
“You also said on Saturday that your team is ready to meet with Shelly Finkel and Al Haymon from my side to get this deal done. They are also ready to meet with your team immediately. Let us know when – the sooner the better.
“Thanks Anthony, I can’t wait to meet you in the ring.”