By Scott Gilfoid: Fresh off his victory over 38-year-old journeyman Jason Gavern last month, #7 WBC heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (11-0, 11 KOs) will be fighting this Saturday night on May 9th against 34-year-old journeyman Raphael Zumbano Love (36-10-1, 29 KOs) in a scheduled 8 round bout at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, UK.
This isn’t step up in class for the 6’6” Joshua unfortunately from the last guy he fought or from the other 10 previous fodder opponents he’s been in with. Zumbano or Love, whichever name you want to go by with him, is more of a lateral move for Joshua.
It’s unclear if the choice of Zumbano was Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn’s idea or Joshua’s manager’s pick, what is clear is it’s not a fight that will do much for the 25-year-old Joshua. I mean, we are talking about a fighter who captured a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics in the super heavyweight class when talking of Joshua. Granted, many boxing fans felt that Joshua lost two of the fights [against Erislandy Savon and Roberto Cammarelle] in winning his gold medal but still gold medal wins usually fight decent opposition right off the bat. Look at Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko. Both fighters with only a handful of fights under their belts and already world champions. With Joshua, he seems to be getting matched like he has no amateur experience.
“I will do things my way,” Joshua said via Skysports.com. “I have from the start and I will continue to do that. My conditioning is improving day by day and my focus is totally on this fight. I want to put in an explosive performance for the fans.”
Personally, I think Joshua was a better fighter when he first turned pro than he is now. He’s put on a lot of muscle in just a year and a half since turning pro in October 2013. Joshua’s weight has gone from 220 to 245 pounds during that time. We’re not talking about 25 pounds of fat. We’re talking what appears to be pure muscle. Try putting that much weight on in just 18 months and see what it does your speed and endurance. I think it’s a totally oddball move on Joshua’s part to put that kind of weight on in such a short period of time, as he looks a lot slower than he was when first started out as a pro, and his punching power doesn’t seem to have improved at all. If anything, Joshua isn’t punching as well because his speed has slowed with the muscle. I know Lennox Lewis fought around 250 as a pro, but he carried the weight better than Joshua in my view, and he put the weight on slowly. Lewis wasn’t 250 by his second year as a pro. He gradually put the weight on and it looked natural with him. With Joshua, he just looks like a weight lifter in my opinion, and he doesn’t seemed to have gotten better with the added weight. Lewis clearly got better when he bulked up, but I don’t see that as being the case with Joshua.