ANTHONY JOSHUA has often stressed the importance of respecting one’s elders but has this week described one of his, Lennox Lewis, as a “clown”, revealing he has little respect for the former world heavyweight champion.
The two British heavyweights have always enjoyed a testy kind of relationship, with Lewis often quick to highlight the perceived missteps Joshua has made since turning professional in 2013. However, this tension appeared to crank up a notch on Sky Sports’ AJ: The Untold Truth when Joshua, rattled by the backlash received following his seventh-round stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr in June, hit back at Lennox, one of boxing’s true greats, for some of the things he has written on social media in recent times.
“I can’t look at that fight and agree that AJ was fully prepared,” Lewis tweeted in the aftermath of Joshua’s June 1 fall from grace, calling into question the ability of the dethroned champion’s trainer, Rob McCracken.
Joshua, speaking to Sky Sports, has since responded by saying: “Lennox is a clown. I don’t respect Lennox.”
And that was just the start. Later, when it was put to Joshua that Lewis had left quite the legacy, having beaten every man he ever faced in a pro ring and reigned off and on for a decade, Joshua fired back: “So? So am I.
“Me and Lennox are not the same. My legacy is to sit back and enjoy the younger generation coming up, and not to be involved. Just to appreciate what it takes to get there.
“Lennox isn’t like that.
“Me and Lennox are cut from a different cloth.”
You won’t find many arguing that point.
Former 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi has looked the real deal so far as a professional but has, admittedly, yet to find himself in a 50:50 fight, let alone faced with a serious test.
This pattern continues on August 31 when Buatsi will fight Canadian Ryan Ford, 16-4 (11), a sturdy type who should give the Brit rounds but is unlikely to give him much of a fright.
“I’m fighting a tough, durable opponent on August 31 in the form of Ryan Ford,” said Buatsi, 11-0 (9). “He’s never been stopped in his 20 professional fights and he’s got some good experience against some top names. He’s an ex MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter so he’ll know how to handle himself.
“If I can become the first fighter to stop him then I’ll be very happy. As always, it’s about getting the win at all costs. I’m there to get the job done and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Ford, known as ‘The Real Deal’, is a 37-year-old from Edmonton, Alberta, whose pro boxing career began in 2010 but has been one of the stop-start nature. He boasts just 20 pro fights to his name, having not boxed at all between 2010 and 2015, but has, in the last two years, battled a number of fringe contenders at super-middleweight. These fights ended in defeat, of course, and Ford is 2-4 in his last six bouts, but he still showed durability and fitness in going 12 rounds with Fedor Chudinov, Andrey Sirotkin, Avni Yildirim and Nick Hannig, a six-fight light-heavyweight novice.
On a more positive note, Ford experienced victory in his last fight when stopping Serge Michel, an undefeated German-based Russian, in eight rounds. That result alone should be enough to ensure Buatsi, 26, doesn’t take his next opponent for granted later this month.