IN a swathe of interviews across a wide variety of platforms, unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has been discussing his peers in refreshingly blunt fashion. Speaking on the Boxing with Chris Mannix podcast, Joshua “I’m working towards beating [Tyson] Fury. I’ve gotta look through [Kubrat] Pulev, I’m gonna walk through Pulev. He ain’t on my level, I’m walking through him. I want the boys at the top. I’m looking at Fury like I’m gonna walk through him as well.”
‘AJ’ is echoing the sentiments of many when he says Pulev isn’t on his level – most expect the Brit to blitz his mandatory challenger before hopefully meeting Fury.
Despite his undeniable charm, Joshua’s been criticised by various corners of the boxing world for seemingly being a bit too prepared and guarded in media interviews, and I’ve been guilty of accusing him of the same thing from time to time, so it’s encouraging to see him be more honest and combative.
He was also asked about why he didn’t stick the knife into Deontay Wilder after the American’s loss to Fury, given how much Wilder mocked Joshua after he lost to Andy Ruiz last year.
“You don’t knock a man when he’s down,” Joshua said.
“Me and Wilder are cut from a different cloth. He’s what we call, it begins with a ‘B’ and ends with an ‘H’. I’m not like that, I’m more of a man.”
Besides the sexist undertones of that comment, Joshua is referring to the fact he handled his first professional defeat much more gracefully than Wilder.
Indeed, Wilder was a guest on the Premier Boxing Champions podcast this week, where he picked up his shovel and dug himself an even bigger hole.
He said: “I don’t see Fury as a champion. He ain’t the champion yet, we still got one more fight left… He knows that wasn’t me. That wasn’t the real Deontay Wilder, something was wrong with him. There’s a time and a place, I’ll reveal a lot of things.”
Wilder also claimed he injured his bicep during that second fight with Fury, and has since had surgery on it. He hopes to return to training next month. Plus, he’s going to bring in some new faces to his camp after he apparently discovered a few “snakes in the grass,” who were apparently envious of him and plotting to bring him down.
It’s a strange narrative from Wilder and one that smacks of disillusion. If he is to beat Fury in their trilogy fight, it will not be because of new team members or a refortified arm; it will be because he admits he was beaten by the better man and takes the appropriate steps to improve on his own weaknesses and exploit Fury’s. Until he does that, I don’t give him much chance of exacting revenge.
Another trilogy fight mooted for this year is the third clash between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. On The Pug and Copp Boxing Show – hosted by The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire and Mike Coppinger – Golovkin’s former trainer Abel Sanchez discussed his wildly successful run with the Kazakh wrecking ball and gave some interesting views on Golovkin’s career as things stand.
According to Sanchez, Golovkin changed his style in the second Canelo fight to try and box more – something he, as head coach, did not advise – and posits that “outside influences” are what caused ‘GGG’ to change tact. What struck me is that, despite a seemingly acrimonious split, Sanchez doesn’t hold any ill will toward Golovkin. In fact, he only had positive things to say about his former charge, but warned him against trying to outbox and outmaneuver Canelo in a third fight. They were a great team and it’s a real shame Sanchez isn’t in Golovkin’s corner for this last chapter of his career.
Promising lightweight Devin Haney landed himself in hot water this week for some comments he made about division leader Vasiliy Lomachenko during an interview with 78SPORTSTV.
He said: “I will never lose to a white boy in my life. I don’t care what nobody got to say. Can’t no white boy beat me on any day of the week. Fight a white boy ten times, I’m gonna beat him ten times.”
Bernard Hopkins was derided for making a similar comment before his 2008 loss to Joe Calzaghe, and Haney has received similar treatment here. The 21-year-old was forced to respond publicly and state that he is not a racist, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. He’s still young, and young people (particularly successful young people) are known to say very stupid things. Hopefully he learns from the mistake and doesn’t bring race into discussions about fights again.
Speaking to IFL, promoter Bob Arum claimed he’s had assurances from all four major sanctioning bodies that they would not obstruct an undisputed title fight between Joshua and Fury, provided they both win their next fights.
Arum also said that he’s working on a potential Manny Pacquiao vs Terence Crawford fight, provided they can find a country willing to put up a big enough site fee. That’s a great fight, though it’s strange it couldn’t be made while they were both signed with Arum. Plus, if Arum is able to work with Al Haymon – who now manages Pacquiao – then why not match Crawford with Errol Spence?
BoxingScene caught up with Robert Smith of the British Boxing Board of Control to discuss a return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic. Smith revealed that they hope to resume shows in June, but only provided that the NHS can safely allow staff to work these shows as ringside physicians. Smith pointed out the importance of allowing doctors and nurses to focus their efforts on tackling the pandemic, rather than working at sporting events. After last week’s discussion about Dana White’s latest mad-cap scheme, it’s reassuring to have level-headed organisations like the BBBoC making key decisions and not putting lives at risk.