IT was initially thought that Deontay Wilder’s decision to announce a WBC heavyweight title defence against Luis Ortiz last week was deliberately timed to undermine Anthony Joshua’s own WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title defence against Andy Ruiz.
Probably a correct assumption to make, it achieved this to some extent. Wilder, in outlining his own schedule and removing himself from the equation, put a stop to Joshua and anyone else using his name to try and sell Joshua vs. Ruiz as some sort of next step to Joshua vs. Wilder. He would say he took the power back.
Now, of course, it hardly matters. Joshua, having lost to Ruiz in a stunning upset, won’t be meeting Wilder anytime soon, nor will anyone be all that interested in seeing the two share a ring in 2019. Instead, thanks to a Mexican-American with a life-changing left hook, the division has been turned on its head and soon Joshua will be thinking only of revenge as Wilder focuses all his energy on doing a better job on Ortiz than he did first time around in 2018.