Weights: Anthony Joshua 245, Jason Gavern 244
By Scott Gilfoid: Undefeated #7 WBC heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (10-0, 10 KOs) will be making his ring return on Saturday night against 37-year-old journeyman Jason Gavern (26-19-4, 11 KOs) in an eight round fight at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom.
During Friday’s weigh-in, Joshua tipped the scales at a career-high weight of 245 pounds. This was five pounds heavier than his previous career high of 240. It appears that Joshua has been hitting the weights something fierce since suffering a stress fracture in his back from his last fight against 39-year-old British journeyman Michael Sprott last November.
Gavern weighed in at 244 pounds, and looked in good shape for him. He obviously wants to make a good showing and possibly get lucky if he can land a big enough shot on Joshua’s chin. It’s obviously not impossible to put the 6’6”, 245 pound Joshua on the canvas, because it’s been done in the amateur ranks by Dillain Whyte.
Joshua also struggled badly in the Olympics in winning two highly controversial fights against Erislandy Savon and Roberto Cammarelle in front of a pro-Joshua crowd. You can make an argument that Joshua lost both of those fights. I had him losing to both of those guys. Since then, Joshua hasn’t faced anyone nearly as good in the pro ranks, and he’s done well against the fodder that his promoter Eddie Hearn has fed him in his 10 fights.
“The future of the division belongs to Joshua,” said IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko via the Telegraph.co.uk. “I haven’t seen an athlete as athletic, as big, as fast, as talented as Anthony and if he’s going to continue the way he is, developing himself, the future belongs to him.”
Joshua is one inch shorter than the 6’7” WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, and not nearly as fast as him in my view. I also don’t see Joshua as having the movement, the jab or the right hand power that Deontay possesses. Wilder appears to have much better hand speed, power and mobility than the flat-footed Joshua. I would favor Wilder over Joshua if the two of them ever face each other.
Wladimir sparred 20 rounds with the 25-year-old Joshua while getting ready for his fight against Kubrat Pulev last year.
Gavern said that he rates Joshua “in the top three fighters I’ve ever been in with”.
In addition to being with Joshua in the ring for sparring, Gavern has fought Deontay. It’s unclear where Gavern rates Deontay. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s among the top three fighters that Gavern has been in with. Gavern has trained with a lot of different fighters during his career, and he’s definitely got a lot of experience and intelligence. If he only had more size, power, and hand speed, he’d be a good one. As it is he makes the most of his physical attributes.
The only way Joshua loses to Gavern on Saturday night is if he gets clipped with something big. It’s possible but not likely. Gavern has been brought in by Hearn for one reason and that’s to make Joshua look good. He’s not likely to flip the scrip by exposing Joshua.
With Joshua continuing to put on more and more muscle, I’m starting to wonder whether he’s eventually going to become an over-muscled fighter similar to Larry Olubamiwo. I can see it happening if Joshua keeps adding more and more muscle. If he’s 245 right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the 250s by next year, and then possibly even hitting the 260s. If he turns into another Primo Carnera, he’s not going to have a very good career.