By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is banking on his fighter #2 WBC heavyweight contender Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs) beating his former conqueror Dillian Whyte (16-0, 13 KOs) in their fight this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
Hearn has practically already crowned the 26-year-old Joshua as the next undisputed heavyweight champion with all the praise that he’s been steadily pouring over his head by the bucketful.
The gushing that Hearn has done about Joshua’s talent seems almost embarrassing at times because it seems like Hearn is failing to see that Joshua was arguably beaten four times in the London Olympics three years ago in 2012 in winning a controversial gold medal.
Those were the last times that the over-muscled Joshua fought quality opposition, and clearly failed repeatedly in that competition.
The fight against Whyte this Saturday is going to be the 6’6”, 250lb Joshua’s first test of his career since his struggles in the Olympics, and I’m not sure that he’s going to be able to perform any better now than he did back then. Roberto Cammarelle, Erislandy Savon, Ivan Dychko and Zhang Zhilei all got the better of Whyte in the 2012 Olympics in my view.
Joshua lost to Whyte back in 2009, when he was lighter, more limber and a faster 220lb fighter. But even then, Joshua wasn’t fast by many means. He was just a big fighter with a lot of height who liked to throw a lot of arm punches. Fast forward to 2015, and Joshua is still the same fighter but slower now and heavier due to him putting on 30 pounds of muscle.
“Joshua is so fast, so powerful and so strong that it’s a very difficult task. Dillian will give it everything, he won’t fold under the pressure and I cannot wait for the anticipation in the O2 on Saturday night,” Hearn said to skysports.com.
The way that Hearn talks about Joshua, you would think that the guys is the second coming of Lennox Lewis. The thing is the stuff that Hearn says about Joshua doesn’t connect with the reality that we see on screen when he fights in the ring.
Joshua is nothing like what Hearn makes him out to be in my view. Joshua just looks like a bodybuilder type fighter, who has put on far too much muscle, and who cannot throw power shots with his body behind his punches due to the excess muscle that he’s put on. As such, Joshua throws a lot of arm punches and that’s pretty much how he fights – by throwing arm punches.
“This fight has and will answer questions about his ability in the ring and his ability to handle pressure, confrontation and emotion,” Hearn said. “AJ has to control his emotions. It’s a huge fight, huge attention, the whole of the world will be watching and he wants to beat Dillian Whyte badly, but he must stay disciplined in his performance.”
Asking Joshua to control his emotions and fight in a more controlled is an impossible thing for him to do, because that’s not how Joshua fights. He’s someone that only fights in one manner and that’s by coming forward and trying to mow down his completion.
Hearn hasn’t helped Joshua develop since he turned pro because he’s fed him such terrible competition over and over again without mixing in some talented guys that would stop him from bum rushing everybody.
This Saturday night, Whyte is going to likely teach Joshua a lesson about how it’s not a wise thing for him to rush his opponents and look to slug. It’s too bad for Joshua that he’s getting the lesson so late because he should have been fighting better guys like Whyte right off the bat since he turned pro. I mean, Olympic gold medalists tend to be pushed faster than fighters without Olympic credentials, but for some reason, Joshua has been brought along slowly like someone without any amateur experience.
“There is a lot at stake – win, lose or draw. It’s a high pressure environment because Joshua has been built up to be the man that can change the face of boxing and I believe that he can,” Hearn said.
For Hearn’s sake, you have to hope that Joshua wins the fight, because he’s all over him, thinking the guy will win world titles and rule the heavyweight division for years and years. I’d just hate to be in the same room with Hearn if/when Joshua loses this Saturday to Whyte, because I have a feeling their might be an emotional meltdown by Hearn.