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Hearn says Joshua ready for Wilder-Ortiz winner

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder Kubrat Pulev

By Scott Gilfoid: Promoter Eddie Hearn is ready to match his fighter IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) against the winner of the Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz fight. Hearn feels confident enough to want to pit Joshua against the Wilder-Ortiz winner in February or March of 2018.

Rushing Joshua into a fight against the winner of the Wilder-Ortiz fight could be a recipe for disaster for him. Hearn needs to take a hard look at Joshua’s last fight against Wladimir Klitschko to see how green the kid is right now. Joshua still has a lot to learn before he is ready to take on the big guys in the heavyweight division.

You can argue that it was an accident that Joshua got past Wladimir. It was a slip up on the 41-year-old Ukrainian’s part by letting Joshua escape after knocking him down in the 6th round last April.

Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) defends his WBA heavyweight title against Ortiz (27-0, 23 KOs) on November 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Hearn is already predicting a 3rd round knockout win for Joshua over Wilder when the time comes for them to fight each other. Wilder still hasn’t even gotten past the 38-year-old Ortiz year.

Hearn thinks Wilder will win that fight based on his power, youth, speed and mobility. Hearn thinks Ortiz is an old man, as he didn’t look so good in his 2 fights he promoted him in against Dave Allen and Malik Scott last year. Trainer Abel Sanchez says the reason why Ortiz didn’t look good against Allen and Scott was because he wasn’t well trained for those 2 fights.

Those guys weren’t big threats to Ortiz, so he didn’t buckle down the way he will when he gets in there with Wilder and Joshua. Ortiz is still the same fighter that took apart Tony Thompson and Bryant Jennings and looked like a million dollars in those 2 fights. When Ortiz is trained and motivated, he’s a very good heavyweight. We’ll see how good the 6’4” Ortiz is when he gets inside the ring with Wilder on November 4.

Hearn seems less excited about putting together a fight between Joshua and WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KOs) after his disappointing showing in his fight against Hughie Fury last Saturday night in Manchester, England. Parker won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he had problems getting to Hughie and hitting him with shots. Hearn expected more out of Parker. He still thinks Parker won, but he thought it was a closer fight than the scores 2 of the judges turned in. They scored it 118-110.

“We want the winner; simple as that,” Hearn said to Sky Sports News. “We’ll look at a fight in February or March. That was a key to boxing in October – to box three times next year. [Joshua] will have boxed twice this year, next year we’ll box February or March, then the summer. If [Joshua vs. Wilder or Ortiz] is not February or March it has to be in the summer.”

Hearn seems to be in a real rush to make the fight between Joshua and the Wilder vs. Ortiz winner. Joshua did not look good in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko. Joshua hit the deck in the 6th round in that fight, and he ran out of gas around the same time. Joshua was slow in regrouping from the expenditure of energy in the 6th. It took him until the 10th to finally get back into the fight. Hearn should remember how close to defeat Joshua came in the Klitschko. Joshua needs to show he can fight hard without fading because right now, he seems to have a problem with his engine.

Joshua will be fighting next month against Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs) on October 28 in Cardiff, Wales. Hearn doesn’t seem to be too worried about Joshua winning that fight. I think he feels he can win that one without too many problems.

“Parker is definitely on the radar because he has a belt but, really, the radar is the Wilder-Ortiz winner,” said Hearn.

Hearn is in too much of a hurry to push Joshua up to the big time by putting him in with the very best in the heavyweight division. Wilder would have knocked out Wladimir last April in a lot more impressive style than Joshua did in my view. Hearn doesn’t seem to realize how good Wilder is. He could find out the hard way if he rushes Joshua into a fight against the 6’7” Wilder without getting him some more experience first.

Pulev is a good option for the 6’5” Joshua to fight next, because the Bulgarian fighter has a lot of boxing skills, good size and a great jab. If Joshua doesn’t get knocked around the ring too much by Pulev, he could learn something from that fight. If Joshua beats Pulev and looks good, the next logical fight for Joshua would be against WBO champion Joseph Parker.

Joshua wouldn’t have to deal with the danger that he would if he faces the lightning fast Wilder with size, speed and awesome punching power. Parker is a step up from Pulev, albeit a small one. If Joshua can make it past the Parker fight, he might learn enough to hold his own against the Wilder-Ortiz winner.

”I’ve improved since Klitschko win,” said Joshua to skysports.com.

Joshua still hasn’t fought since his fight with Wladimir. How does he know that he’s improved or not? Sparring isn’t going to tell you anything, because that’s a much different story than real fighting. Joshua should get his feet back on the ground, and wait until he fights someone good that can tell him how good he is before he pronounces himself as having improved as a fighter.

I think the fights that Joshua has won in his still young career has planted ideas into his head to make him feel that he’s better than he is right now. It’s better for a fighter like Joshua to be humble and being willing to learn than for them to tell the boxing fans that he’s improved as a fighter.

The flaws that I saw in Joshua from the Klitschko fight fall into these areas:

• Poor stamina

• Mobility nonexistent

• Too muscular and too heavy

• No jab

• Unable to fight on the outside

• Not capable of throwing longer puncher. Everything Joshua threw against Wladimir was at medium to close range.




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