Joshua says Wilder fight could be bigger than Klitschko event
By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua is very hopeful that he can face WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder in 2018, as he believes a fight against him could wind up being bigger than his April 29 match against Wladimir Klitschko earlier this year. Joshua vs. Klitschko sold out the 80,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London, England.
Wilder could bring in even bigger numbers, because he’s an old, inactive 41-year-old fighter like Wladimir was when he was picked out by Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn for a fight. Wladimir hadn’t fought in close to 2 years at the time he fought Joshua, and yet he still almost won against the 27-year-old. That’s obviously not a good sign if you’re one of the boxing fans that buy into what Hearn has been saying about Joshua creating a 10-year dynasty of him being the No.1 heavyweight in the division.
“What else am I going to do in 2018, provided that I don’t have any mandatories? I’ll be a free agent,” said Joshua in talking about his plans for 2018. ”If dealt with right, with Eddie Hearn and the U.S., I think it could be built to be something just like the Klitschko fight. It should be better.”
So there it is. Wider vs. Joshua could be bigger than Klitschko-Joshua if it’s built up right. Just what Joshua is driving at is the big question. If Joshua is drinking the Kool-Aid that Hearn is handing out about Wilder needing to fight his Matchroom Sport stable fighter Dillian Whyte before he can setup a fight between them, then I think he’s going to be waiting a long, long time for that to happen.
Wilder and his Harvard educated promoter Lou Dibella have no intention of wasting time fighting the 29-year-old Whyte, as it does nothing to raise their profile in the U.S with the casual and hardcore boxing fans. Whyte isn’t even popular in the UK. Hearn’s interest in Wilder fighting Whyte sends out a MAJOR red flag of suspicion about what his true intentions are, which I personally believe is the hope of Deontay getting potentially beaten in an upset.
I suspect that Hearn doesn’t really want the Joshua-Wilder fight, because it could end badly for Joshua with him getting knocked out by a single right hand from the 6’7” KO artist Deontay. As such, I think that’s why Hearn is so worked up about wanting Wilder to fight his Matchroom stable fighter Whyte. If by some chance Whyte is able to get lucky and knockout Wilder, then he’ll have removed a huge impediment to Joshua ruling the heavyweight division for the next year or two. Wilder would have no way of getting a fight against Joshua at that point.
If he can’t past Whyte, then he’ll likely be ignored by Hearn and Joshua for good. The other reason I think Hearn is so eager to have Wilder fight Whyte is so that he can increase Whyte’s popularity in the UK. The more popular Whyte is in the UK, the more PPV buys an eventual rematch between him and Joshua will bring in. Right now, Whyte is arguably no more popular than guys like Dereck Chisora.
Whyte isn’t even on the boxing map in terms of being a guy that fans talk about. But, if Wilder agrees to fight Whyte, then he’ll be helping Hearn out immensely in making his fighter a bigger name in the UK. Even if Wilder knocks Whyte out in the 1st round, the “Body snatcher” will still wind up being better known in the UK than he is now.
“I could tell you a million things but the reason I’m saying that is because I do have some real professional people in the background advising me,” said Joshua. ”I can see it happening in the U.S. If you came to Wembley on April 29, you saw what that was like. It was phenomenal. That was really good. So, do we want to create that again or should we go overseas and do something new? It’s good to have options.”
Asking Wilder to fight Whyte is totally unrealistic. It would be like Wilder telling Joshua that he has to first prove himself in the States by fighting Jarrell Miller in order for him to consider facing him. Joshua would laugh at Wilder if he were to ask him to make that oddball request. The reality is the Wilder vs. Joshua doesn’t need any building up. The fight is going to be big right now. Besides, Dillian Whyte is not popular enough for Wilder to get any additional popularity for him beating him.
It would be like asking Wilder to fight David Allen, Dereck Chisora or Sam Sexton, and then thinking it’s going to make him more popular in the UK if he destroys those guys. It’s going to do nothing for Wilder to fight Whyte other than increase the British heavyweight’s value with Hearn’s Matchroom Sport stable. Hearn needs to ask himself whether he wants the Wilder-Joshua fight or not. If he doesn’t, then he needs to stop flapping his gums 24/7 about Wilder, and instead focus on matching Joshua against Whyte, because that seems to be the fight that he wants most of all.
Joshua has an important fight this Saturday night against Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. That should be the fight that the 27-year-old Joshua is thinking about right now, not the Wilder match. If Joshua doesn’t take Takam seriously, he could end up on his back counting stars inside the ring on the night. There will 70,000n of Joshua’s boxing fans in a state of shock when/if that happens. Takam, 36, is too good of a fighter for then 6’5″ Joshua to be overlooking. Joseph Parker ran from Takam for 12 rounds last year to nick a close 12 round decision. I shudder to think what would have happened if Parker went straight at Takam to slug it out. Joshua only has one way of fighting, and that’s to brawl with his opponents. He’s going to need to beat Takam at his own game for him to win. When you fight like that against Takam, it could end badly for you. I hate to say it, but Joshua has a chance of losing to Takam. It’s not a big chance, but there’s still the potential for Joshua to be knocked out, especially if he gets tired like he was in his last fight against Klitschko.