Anthony Joshua wants Kevin Johnson on April 25th
By Scott Gilfoid: With some boxing fans thinking that unbeaten British heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (10-0, 10 KOs) backed out of his January 31st fight against 35-year-old journeyman Kevin Johnson (36-6-1, 14 KOs) out of worry about not being ready for that class of fighter, Joshua says he wants to reschedule with Johnson for April 25th after he fights a stay busy fight against a still to be determined foe on April 4th at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom.
Joshua, 25, pulled out of the Johnson fight, saying that he suffered a bone injury from his one round victory over 40-year-old British journeyman Michael Sprott last November.
Joshua has been out of the ring ever since, but he believes the injury, which is being called a fracture in his back, will be healed by the time he fights three months from now in April.
“April 4 is when I’ll be back for a nice warm-up,” Joshua said via Sky Sports’ Toe 2 Toe. “The guy I was supposed to be fighting on January 31 [Kevin Johnson], I’ll be fighting on April 25 at the O2 Arena. I am not sure who it’s going to be [on April 4]. I don’t want to overlook him but I am really focused on Johnson because, even though I was supposed to fight him and it’s been postponed, he’s still the main man on my mind.”
When Joshua, 6’6”, says “I’ll be back for a nice warm-up,” it tells me that his promoter Eddie Hearn is likely to find a real stiff to put in there with him so he can quickly annihilate him in one round. In other words, Joshua will likely be facing just a body on April 4th when he fights again, and he’ll probably blast the guy out in short order. I fail to see how Joshua’s career is improved by him being matched against one stiff after another. I mean, he is the 2012 Olympic gold medalist from the London Olympics.
Granted, some boxing fans think Joshua lost two of his matches in the Olympics, while others believe that Joshua lost all four of his fights, but was given hometown decisions in each of the fights. But, Joshua should at least be fighting quality guys if the idea is for him to improve to the point where he can compete for a world title against the likes of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. With the guys that Joshua has been facing thus far, I wouldn’t like the idea of him being shoved into the ring with a menacing puncher like Wilder.
The jump up in talent from the guys that #8 WBC Joshua has been facing to a talent like Wilder would likely be far too much for Joshua to handle, and I could see him crumbling under an early attack from Wilder. Hearn needs to start stepping it up for Joshua before it’s too late, because the World Boxing Council already has Joshua ranked #8, and both Joshua and Hearn are talking world title shots in the near future.
With Wilder, you can understand why they took the slow approach with him in his pro career. He’d only had a handful of fights as an amateur at the time he won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. He didn’t have much experience, and the Olympic competition at heavyweight was fierce in that year. There was no controversial wins for Wilder as well.
Kevin Johnson has lost 4 out of his last 5 fights, and I don’t see him being a worthy opponent for Joshua either. Instead of rescheduling with Johnson, Hearn needs to schedule a fight between Joshua and guys like Kubrat Pulev, Alexander Ustinov or Alexander Povetkin.
If you want Joshua to improve, you’ve got to put him in with guys that can actually throw punches back in anger and who have a fighting chance to win. The guys that Joshua have been facing act like they’ve been stunned with a shot to the head before they even walk out for the 1st round.
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