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Anthony Joshua to fight on May 9th at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, England

joshua22By Scott Gilfoid: #7 WBC heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (11-0, 11 KOs) will now be fighting on May 9th against an opponent still to be determined at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, England. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport opted to put the 25-year-old Joshua to the card in order to beef it up after he pulled #5 IBF welterweight contender Frankie Gavin off the card due to him now facing IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook on May 30th.

Joshua, a 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, doesn’t have an opponent for the Birmingham card. Joshua will also be fighting on May 30th on the Brook-Gavin card against 35-year-old American journeyman Kevin Johnson at the O2 Arena in London, UK.

The fact that Joshua will be fighting twice in May, it suggests that his May 9th opponent will likely be an easy option. Hearn isn’t going to take chances of Joshua getting injured by putting him in with a slightly tough opponent because it would ruin things for his May 30th fight.

The Kevin Johnson fight is also an easy one, or at least it should be an easy one for the 6’6” Joshua. Kevin Johnson has lost 4 out of his last 5 fights. So you have to figure that Joshua will be matched up against a guy even weaker than Kevin Johnson for his May 9th fight in order to keep him from getting some kind of injury. However, with Joshua, it’s hard to predict what kind of fights puts him at risk. I mean, he suffered a stress fracture in his back against 40-year-old journeyman Michal Sprott in knocking him out in one round last November.

Joshua also suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of the ring for a while in the past. The injury bug may be a problem for the heavily muscled Joshua as he ages in the future. He’s carrying a lot of muscle in now weighing 245, and with all that muscle, injuries could become a routine thing for Joshua.

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Hearn is slowly steering Joshua towards a world title shot in the future. It’s likely that he’ll try and get him a title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder rather than IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. I don’t think that’s a good idea though because Wilder is a lot faster with his hands, feet and is an arguably bigger puncher than Joshua. I think Wilder would knock Joshua out if that fight gets made.

Joshua needs to trim off some of that muscle weight that he’s put on in my view. I think he’s carrying around a good 25 pounds of excess muscle, and he doesn’t appear to be a better puncher since he put it on. If anything, Joshua isn’t punching as well, and he looks a lot slower than he was before added the muscle weight.

Joshua has put on the 25 pounds of muscle weight in just two years since turning pro, and he doesn’t look better for it. Some guys carry the weight well like Wladimir Klitschko, who also started his pro career in the 220s, but he moves well and is fast with the weight. In contrast, Joshua looks a lot slower since he put on the extra muscle in my view, and I think he was a far better fighter when he first turned pro compared to now.

Below are the fights on the still evolving May 9th card:

Gamal Yafai vs. TBA
Matthew Macklin vs. TBA
Khalid Yafai vs. Rey Megrino
Sam Eggington vs. TBA
Jordan Cooke vs. TBA
Callum Smith vs. TBA

As you can see, the fight card is still being worked out at this stage. It’s obviously not a good sign that six of the seven fights on the card still don’t have opponents. We are talking about a fight card that is only one month from taking place. That doesn’t give one a good feeling about the fights when you see TBAs as far as the eye can see with only four weeks to go. I’d hate to see a bunch of mismatches from top to bottom on the card. The Joshua fight, which will be the headliner, will obviously be a mismatch with Joshua facing someone that is way out of his class, but I would hope that the undercard would have at least one compelling fight if not more for the card.

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