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Is Anthony Joshua the No.1 heavyweight on the planet?


By Scott Gilfoid: There are some boxing fans that believe that IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (16-0, 16 KOs) is already the No.1 heavyweight on the planet. They look at the way the 26-year-old Joshua has mowed down his first 16 opponents, and they extrapolate from there to predict that he’ll beat every other heavyweight on the planet. I don’t agree with this kind of thinking.

You can’t accurately predict future outcomes based on a small sample. It makes no sense. Joshua’s promoter Barry Hearn is another one that believes he’s the best fighter on the plant already. Never mind the fact that Joshua still hasn’t faced Deontay Wilder, Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz, Tyson Fury, Kubrat Pulev, Joseph Parker, Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin, Bryant Jennings, Bermane Stiverne, David Haye or Wladimir Klitschko.

Hearn just thinks Joshua is the best. It’s kind of sad, really. When you start crowing about your fighters after they’ve done pretty much zero, you’re setting yourself up for a big fall. I just hope Hearn can handle it when Joshua does wind up getting smashed.

“I think I’ve got the best heavyweight for the next 10 years on the planet. I can’t see anyone beating him. I think the kid is outstanding and I think he’s got a lot of improvement left in him yet,” said Hearn to “Even as he is today, he’s the best heavyweight in the world. What he’s going to be like in two years’ time is frightening.”

Oh boy, I think Hearn is dreaming here. Joshua is will be lucky if he doesn’t get knocked out by Dominic Breazeale on Saturday night. Hearn needs to keep his feet on the ground when it comes to his thoughts on Joshua. I mean, we are talking about a fighter that many boxing fans saw being gifted a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, aren’t we? The Olympics was the last time Joshua fought quality heavyweights, and many fans saw him losing to Roberto Cammarelle in the finals and against Cuban Erislandy Savon.

When you realize that Joshua hasn’t faced any truly talented heavyweights ever since the Olympics, then all you can say is that he’s not as good as Cammarelle and Savon. Luckily, for Joshua, those guys didn’t turn pro. But there are plenty of other talents in the heavyweight division that can do exactly what Savon and Cammarelle did to Joshua.

Those guys just put a lot of pressure Joshua, forcing him to fight hard, and throw a lot of punches. Joshua got tired in both of those fights and was out-punched by both guys. Joshua was already looking gassed after the 1st round against those heavyweights. The top heavyweights in the pros don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to coming up with a game plan to beat Joshua, because it’s already been created by Savon and Cammarelle.

All the pros need to do is follow the blueprint to the letter and do exactly what Cammarelle and Savon both did by attacking Joshua and making him use his huge muscles for three minutes of every round. I see that blueprint working against Joshua for the remainder of his career, because he’s likely always going to be heavily muscled like Frank Bruno, and he’ll always have stamina problems when he’s pushed hard. Joshua is going to be up against it each time he’s going up against a fighter that is going to push him hard and force him to work for the full three minutes of each round instead of dancing around and letting him rest his huge muscles.

At this point, I see Joshua at No.7 in the heavyweight division below these heavyweights:

1. Deontay Wilder

2. Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz

3. Tyson Fury

4. Wladimir Klitschko

5. David Haye

6. Joseph Parker

Hearn believes that Joshua will keep improving, but I don’t believe so. I think Joshua isn’t even as good as he was back in 2009, when he leaner, faster and able to fight hard without fading. Everything since then has been a slow downhill trend for Joshua. He’s put gotten slower, and he doesn’t fight as hard as he did in 2009 in my view. In two years, I see Joshua even bigger and slower than he is now. I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua is weighing in the 260s in two years, and laboring through his fights.

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