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Anthony Joshua: I’m bigger and better

Anthony Joshua

By Scott Gilfoid: A bulked up 254 pound IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) insists his career high weight won’t impede his performance tonight against 36-year-old challenger Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) in their fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Joshua says he’s been working out on the track, and that he’s fit than he was in his last fight against Wladimir Klitschko on April 29. Never the less, 254 lbs. is a lot of weight for any heavyweight to lug around the ring for a 12 round fight. Joshua’s high weight suggests that he’s going to bum rush Takam early and try and knock him out quickly before his problems with his cardiovascular system start showing up.

Joshua had said in recent weeks that he was going to come in leaner. However, he’s had 2 weeks to prepare for Takam after the injury of Kubrat Pulev, and it’s quite possible that Joshua has been power feeding in a hurry to bulk up a little more for his bulkier 6’1” opponent. Takam came in at just 235 lbs. at Friday’s weigh-in, which was the lowest he’s been in 11 years since 2006. So, it looks Joshua and Takam are on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

”Bigger & Better,” said Joshua on his social media site in defense of the legion of boxing fans that are questioning the logic of him coming in so heavy.

Joshua’ wily promoter Eddie Hearn says the 254 lbs. could be his natural weight, and he doubts that he’ll come in at a lesser weight than this in the future.

”He’s growing now into a mature man. Maybe this is his natural weight? I don’t think you’re going to see him coming in much lighter than this,” said Hearn to Sky Sports News.

Yeah, it’s quite possible that Joshua won’t be lighter than 254 lbs. in the future, which is obviously could be a problem for him when he faces someone that can handle his power. Fighters tend to put on a little more weight as they head into their 30s. It’s just a natural fact. Look at Lennox Lewis. He was a lean 230 lb. fighter in his 20s. By the time he hit his 30s, he had filled out to 250 lbs.

In Joshua’s case, he hasn’t even turned 28 yet, and he’s already 254. That tells me that there’s a VERY good chance that we could soon see Joshua weighing in the 260s and maybe even the 270s. We’re talking Primo Carnera 2.0, aen’t we? In this day and age, I don’t think it’s possible for Joshua to succeed for long with him weighing in the 260s or 270s. I just don’t see it. No, I take that back. I think Joshua CAN succeed as long as the wily Hearn continues to match him against fighters like Takam, Eric Molina and Dominic Breazeale.

Joshua can probably beat those guys even if he adds another 56 lbs. of muscle and comes in at 300 lbs. against those guys. Those are clearly fringe level heavyweights, and not the cream of the crop. When Joshua faces someone that can force him to throw a lot of punches for more than 2 or 3 rounds, we’re clearly going to see him gas out JUST like he did in his fights with Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko. Nothing is going to change in that respect. As the saying goes, ‘Coming events cast their shadows before.’ Joshua’s cardiovascular system isn’t going to improve now that he’s packed on even more useless muscle weight on his frame. If anything, Joshua is going to be worse off than before.

Joshua’s heart is now being forced to work harder to pump O2 to all that extra mass. Joshua’s beach body is not made for an aerobic sport like boxing. Joshua’s body is more designed for short impact sports like football than boxing, which requires a lot of movement and the ability to fight at a fast pace.

If Joshua gasses out tonight against Takam, the challenger is not going to make the mistake that Klitschko did by thinking he can play it safe for the remainder of the fight and just box. Takam saw what a mess Wladimir made in his fight by letting Joshua off the hook, and he’s not going to make the same mistake. Takam is going to go after Joshua and look to take his head off straightaway.

Joshua does have his enablers though, who feel that he’s doing the right thing by bulking up with his physique. One of those enablers is Tony Bellew. He thinks Joshua is doing an admirable job of adding size to his frame, and he thinks he’ll continue to win anyway.

”Be more concerned with his skill set than his weight! Being heavy is not a reason you will lose imo! If he keeps improving he’s unstoppable,” said Bellew on his Twitter.

I completely disagree with Bellew. I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about. History has shown us in boxing that fighters that go overboard with bulking up wind up getting beaten by leaner, quicker, fitter and more agile fighters with superior conditioning. That’s just the way it is in boxing. The really big guys with the Primo Carnera type physiques do well for a while, but eventually they meet someone that has a better engine than them, and they get beat. Those fighters then react by going overboard to take off a ton of weight to get lean, and they still wind up with poor results. The smart thing is not to put all that weight on in the first place.

Joshua was a far better fighter when he was weighing in the 220s during the 2012 Olympics than he is right now. Back then, Joshua was capable of throwing a lot of punches for 3 rounds without gassing out. Right now, Joshua gasses if he throws half the amount of punches for just 1 round. Joshua gassed out in round 2 of his fight against Dillian Whyte and round 5 against Klitschko. Those were both rounds in which Joshua threw a lot of punches trying to knockout his opponents. My conclusion from watching those 2 fights is Joshua’s conditioning now is so poor that he can’t fight hard for any length of time without gassing out. Joshua is not the same fighter he was in 2012 when he was a leaner 220.

The 25-30 pounds of muscle that Joshua has packed on has slowed him down. He’s not the lean, mean fighting machine that he was back in 2012. Joshua love of weight lifting has really hurt his body in a big way in my opinion. Having a hobby like weight lifting is a nice thing for Joshua, but not when it’s hurting his performances inside the ring. Joshua messed up his body with his needless weight lifting since he turned pro, and now we’re starting to see how badly he’s hurt it with him running out of gas quickly in his fights. You can argue that the only reason Joshua’s performances haven’t been negatively impacted even more is because he’s only fought 2 good heavyweights in his entire 4-year pro career in Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko. The rest of the guys Joshua has faced have largely been ham and eggers.

“I’ve done a lot more running. Maybe I’m starting to fill out and find my natural weight,” said Joshua.

Joshua sounds like he’s in MAJOR denial about his body weight, doesn’t he? The reason why Joshua is filling out isn’t because he’s starting to find his natural weight, it’s because he’s hitting the weights so hard and bulking up. If Joshua put the weights down and started doing more running on the track, he’d lose the useless muscle weight he’s put on. When I say running on the track, I’m refereeing to long runs of 5-7 miles. I’m not talking about Joshua going to the track and running 10 sprints of 100 meters. Doing the wind sprints that Joshua has been talking about isn’t going to burn muscle off and make him sleek.

The only way to burn the useless muscle off is for Joshua to run long distance, so that his heart becomes better conditioned to carry around all the bulk that he’s packed on since he turned pro just 4 years ago. It took Joshua just 4 years to put on 25 pounds of muscle. How much will Joshua weigh in another 4 years? If you add another 25 lbs. to Joshua’s current weight of 254, he’ll be weighing 280 lbs. by 2021 if he keeps adding muscle weight like he’s been doing since he turned pro. I’m sorry but I don’t think Joshua at 280lbs. is going to be able to beat too many of the top heavyweights in the division. I think he’ll beat some of them, but not the good ones that know how to avoid his early bum rushes.

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