By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is talking about having IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua fight another voluntary defense in November or December, and then from taking on his IBF mandatory challenger Joseph Parker (19-0, 16 KOs) in his fight after that.
Hearn is talking about wanting to potentially have Joshua fight in December and asking the International Boxing Federation for an exception so that he doesn’t need to fight the 24-year-old Parker at that time. I knew it was too good to be true. As soon as Hearn first started talking about wanting to match Joshua against Parker before the end of the year, I didn’t believe it. Sure enough, it looks like Hearn is going to try and have Joshua dodge the Parker fight.
“We either fight in early November; it will be the last chance we have to fight a voluntary or we can fight in December and ask for an exception,” said Hearn about Joshua. “If we do that and he’s granted, which he probably will be, we would have to fight Parker next. The Parker fights going to happen in November or December or March, April. We’re looking at the Fury fight; Klitschko might be given the belt back. I don’t know. That’s a fight we’d have as well. We want to build towards the Wilder fight,” said Hearn.
I get the impression that Hearn doesn’t want Joshua (17-0, 17 KOs) to have to fight the talented and very, very dangerous 6’4” Parker until he absolutely needs to. Parker can do everything that Joshua can do, but with better punching power and with better mobility and boxing skills. I rate Parker as a better boxer as Joshua, and definitely the more mobile of the two.
At 234lbs, Parker moves around the ring like a middleweight, and he’s showing a massive amount of improvement with each fight. Parker looked very good in out-boxing the always tough Carlos Takam by a 12 round decision last May in the biggest fight of his career.
The improvement that Parker showed in that fight compared to how he looked in his previous bout against Jason Berman just four months earlier was like night and day. Parker looked like a seasoned pro against Takam in out-boxing him in their IBF heavyweight eliminator bout.
Hearn can surely put off the Parker fight for a while longer, but Joshua is still going to need to fight him soon. It’s not as if Hearn can swerve Joshua around the talented 24-year-old Parker for a couple of years while he tries to improve his own game.
The fact of the matter is that if Joshua wants to keep his IBF title, then he’s going to need to defend it against Parker. If he decides he doesn’t like being in the hot seat as the IBF champion, then Joshua can always vacate the belt so that Parker can pick it up and start taking on all comers without complaints and without attempting to swerve them. Parker is one of those old school heavyweights, who reminds me of another Gennady Golovkin with his approach to the game.
“That’s a fight we’d like to build for to be pay-per-view on Showtime and Sky,” said Hearn about a match between Joshua and Wilder. We need a couple of more fights, maybe a fight in America in early 2017. He’s [Wilder] fighting Arreola on July 16.”
Deontay, 6’7”, is ready to take the Joshua figh right now. He has zero interest in letting the fight marinate the way that Hearn wants to. Deontay wants to get it over with, take Joshua’s belt, and then move on to face the winner of the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury rematch. It helps Deontay to take the fight with Joshua now, because each and every fight that he has from that point on would be bigger money fights for him. He can make big bank after he beats Joshua, because it might turn him into a pay-per-view attraction in the U.S.
If Wilder can take Joshua’s scalp in the near term, it turns him into a star overnight in America. If Wilder has to wait, then he’ll likely remain pretty much where he’s at in terms of popularity. As such, it makes sense for Wilder to be pushing hard to try and make the fight with Joshua as fast as possible. Hearn thinks Joshua is going to keep improving with each fight, but I’m not so sure about that. When I see old video of Joshua in his amateur days when he was leaner in the 220s, faster, and capable of throwing nonstop combinations, I think he was a far better fighter back then. I think Joshua’s zenith was in 2009, when he was fighting guys like Dillian Whyte. I thought Joshua looked very good back then because he carried his weight well and better hand speed. All the muscle weight that Joshua has packed on his upper body since then has slowed him down to where he pushes his shots rather than explodes with them. I could well understand it. If I packed on a good 20 to 25 pounds of muscle on my upper body, there’s no way I could punch like I did when I was leaner and faster.
“Wilder, Fury, anyone of them, and they all want to fight me,” said Joshua.
Well, Joshua can forget about fighting Fury in 2016, because that option has been taken away from him with Fury’s ankle injury. Joshua will need to wait until 2017 before he can face fury, and even then, it might be with him coming off a knockout loss to Wladimir.