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Hearn says Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder likely next

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder

By Jim Dower: WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder’s performance against Luis Ortiz last Saturday night impressed Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn enough to where he’s now saying that his fighter Anthony Joshua will likely face him next if he gets past WBO champion Joseph Parker on March 31.

Hearn says there’s not too public pressure for him to make the Joshua-Wilder fight for him not to put that fight together. However, it might not be pressure that has Hearn finally interested in letting Joshua fight Wilder.

It’s quite likely that Hearn sees how vulnerable Wilder is now, and he no longer sees him as a serious threat to beating Joshua. The unbeaten Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) almost lost to the 38-year-old Ortiz (28-1, 24 KOs) in the 7th round last Saturday night in their fight televised by Showtime Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Ortiz looked very old inside the ring, but he had Wilder close to being knocked out. Hearn says that if it had been the 28-year-old Joshua that was the one inside the ring with Wilder in the 7th round, he wouldn’t have survived the round. Joshua would have knocked him out easily. It’s hard to disagree with Hearn. Wilder would have been knocked by Joshua or any younger heavyweight that had him as hurt as Ortiz did.

“I think the answer’s probably yes,” Hearn said to the latimes.com about matching Joshua up with Wilder next. “There’ll be too much pressure for that fight, not just from the fans, but from Anthony Joshua. People don’t know him like I know him. He wants that fight. He sees Wilder as a very straight forward fighter. There’s no fear.”

Hearn shouldn’t be overconfident about Joshua, because the guy is going to lose eventually once he gets hit hard enough by a good heavyweight with power. He should have already been knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko last year. Joshua was knocked down in the 6th, and he was hurt and tired until the 10th.

Wladimir fought like he had left his brains and his courage in his training room. He would have knocked Joshua out if he’d been in a token effort. Wilder will likely lose to Joshua, but there is a chance that if he lands one of his right hands, he could hurt him and get him out of there. Wilder isn’t stupid. He’s not going to let Joshua survive if he gets him in bad shape the way Wladimir did.

Hearn needs to make the Joshua-Wilder fight next not only because of the pressure from the boxing world, but also because it’s clear that Wilder is going to lose his WBC title to someone soon if Hearn doesn’t make that fight. Wilder’s weight is just dropping with each fight, and he’s starting to look emaciated at 214 lbs.

That’s too thin for a world class heavyweight. Wilder was weighting 227, 228 and fighting quite well at that weight three years ago, but he started dropping weight last year when he fought Gerald Washington at 222 lbs., and he’s continued to lose weight in going to 220lbs against Bermane Stiverne last November and now 214 lbs. for the Luis Ortiz. Joshua weighs in the neighborhood of 248lbs, and that’s just too much weight for the 214 lb. Wilder to deal with if that fight takes place this year.

Joshua would have a 34 pound weight advantage, and that alone would make it almost impossible for Wilder to win the fight. It’s unclear if there’s something wrong with Wilder medically for his weight to keep dropping the way it’s been. You don’t see that normally from fighters that are in their prime. Wilder needs to hire a nutritionist and a full conditioning coach that can help him monitor his weight, put together meal plans and get on a weight lifting regimen to build up his thin frame to at least 230.

It’s probably too much to ask to have Wilder put on 20 lbs. of muscle, but he can at least put 15 lbs. back on to get him back to 230. The way Wilder is heading now, he could lose another 6 lbs. by the time he faces Joshua and come into the fight weighing 208 lbs. I’m sorry but that’s way too thin for Wilder to be weighing going up against a heavyweight that is nearly 250. 214 lbs. is too thin but something is not going right with Wilder’s training for him to keep dropping weight. Wilder should have added a nutritionist and high quality strength and conditioning coach a long time ago. He needs someone like Victor Conte to help him out.

“A younger, fresher man would’ve cleaned Wilder out quite convincingly, and if you gave Anthony Joshua those chances, it’d be frightening what would happen. … If Joshua hurts Wilder like Ortiz did … Mate, this is not going to be pretty to watch,” Hearn said.

The 6’7” Wilder still has a lot of punching power that could be a problem for Joshua. If Wilder lands one of his big right hand counters on the chin of Joshua, he’s going to hurt him. It won’t matter if Wilder is outweighed by 40 lbs. by Joshua. Wilder’s long frame is what helps generate all the power. Muscles aren’t needed for Wilder to get tons of power on his shots. Of course, if Wilder keeps losing weight, then he’s going to start losing power if he hasn’t already. The fact that Wilder keeps dismissing his weight as a factor is troubling. If you don’ know what your own flaws are, you’re asking for trouble, and Wilder clearly is in denial about his rapid weight loss.

Wilder used to be better than he looked against Ortiz. Wilder looked like a string bean inside the ring. He seemed like he was way over-trained for the fight. It’s unclear whether Wilder lost weight because he was worried about the southpaw Ortiz or if he simply over-trained and didn’t eat enough. Whatever it is, he needs to stop and start eating and hit the weights.

Back in 2014, Wilder would have destroyed Ortiz. That was when Wilder was heavier and fighting at a higher level. It’s unclear whether Wilder is starting to show signs of age at 32, or if he doesn’t know what he’s doing inside the gym and working himself to the bone. That’s why it’s important for Wilder to get some good trainers that will monitor his food intake so he doesn’t drop below 200 lbs.


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