Anthony Joshua vs. Raphael Zumbano Love on May 9th
By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn has found an opponent for his unbeaten #7 WBC heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (11-0, 11 KOs) to fight on May 9th. Joshua, 25, will be facing 34-year-old journeyman Raphael Zumbano Love (36-10-1, 29 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round bout at the Barclaycard Arena in, Birmingham, West Midlands, United Kingdom.
Zumbano has lost 6 out of his 11 fights, and hasn’t exactly shined recently. Zumbano did go 12 rounds in 2014 in losing a lopsided decision to 43-year-old Shannon Briggs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Hearn and Joshua see it as something to try and top by looking to KO a guy that Briggs couldn’t stop. However, what takes away the accomplishment from stopping Zumbano is the fact that he’s been stopped twice in 2015 by Charles Martin and Eric Molina. If those guys were able to KO Zumbano, then it’s no big deal if Joshua is able to do the same thing as well.
After Joshua’s recent 3rd round stoppage win over 37-year-old journeyman Jason Gavern (26-20-4, 11 KOs) earlier this month on April 4th, that Joshua would step it up a couple of levels to start facing opposition with a pulse and the talent to actually fight back rather than get decimated, but it looks like Hearn is going to continue to play it safe with Joshua to keep him looking good in showcase fights against woefully over-matched opposition.
For a fighter that captured a gold medal in the London Olympics in 2012, Joshua is really being brought along in a very, very careful way by Hearn. That leaves one to wonder whether there’s something that Hearn sees in Joshua’s game to make him not want to let him take any risks.
Believe it or not, Zumbano is a tune-up to get the 6’6” Joshua ready for his May 30th fight against 35-year-old former world title challenger/journeyman Kevin Johnson (29-6-1, 14 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, UK. With Johnson having lost 4 out of his last 5 bouts, you would wonder why Joshua would need a tune-up in order to beat him because this is a fight that Joshua should be able to win in his sleep if he’s any good.
Joshua, who started his pro career at 220 pounds in 2013, has bulked up 25 pounds in just two years and is now fighting at 245 pounds. The extra muscle that Joshua has put on has made him visibly slower than he was before, less agile, less mobile and not surprisingly not any stronger than he was previously in terms of punching power. It’s unclear why Joshua has added all the muscle to his frame because it doesn’t appear to have helped him improve as a fighter. If anything, it could actually hurt him because he’s going to eventually be forced to carry around all that muscle when he faces a somewhat talented fighter that can extend him into the deeper rounds of the fight and test his chin.
Hearn recently said that he wants to match Joshua against the likes of Dereck Chisora, David Haye, Tyson Fury, Dillain Whyte and David Price within the next 12 months. I guess that means that Hearn will be looking to step Joshua up by April or May of 2016. It’s going to be interesting to see if that actually takes place or not. I have a feeling that by this time next year, Joshua will be weighing 255 to 260, and still facing similar opposition to Zumbano and Kevin Johnson. It would be a pity if there’s a failure to launch with Joshua, but I think Hearn doesn’t want to mess up his investment in Joshua. I mean, he won the gold medal in the London Olympics in 2012, albeit by two controversial wins over Erislandy Savon and Roberto Cammarelle, and I think Hearn doesn’t want to take any risks with Joshua by putting him in with someone that could ruin his progress.
I think what’s ultimately going to hurt Joshua ever become a good heavyweight is the way he jeeps adding more and more muscle. He was never quick to begin with when he turned pro at 220, but now that he’s put on 25 pounds of muscle, he’s painfully slow and not looking good.
- Anthony Joshua’ plans: Dillian Whyte in August & Deontay Wilder in December
- Anthony Joshua & Tyson Fury in talks for September fight at Wembley
- Tyson Fury on fighting Usyk & Joshua: “I don’t think they want to fight me”
- Eddie Hearn wants Joshua vs. Whyte rematch in August