‘Joshua is still #1 heavyweight’ says Hearn
By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn still believes Anthony Joshua is the #1 heavyweight in the world despite his recent seventh round knockout loss against Andy Ruiz Jr. earlier this month on June 1 in New York. The defeat by Joshua has done nothing to damper Hearn’s belief that AJ is the best heavyweight on the planet.
For some reason, Hearn is having problems conceding that Joshua lost to Ruiz. By defying reality and acting as if Joshua is still #1, Hearn is marginalizing himself and AJ in the process. Hearn is appears to be a textbook definition of a promoter that fails to acknowledge the reality of his fighter having been beaten. It shouldn’t be surprising though, as Hearn continually says Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder last year, even though the judges say differently. Fury had his chance against Wilder, but he was knocked down twice. You don’t beat a champion by getting knocked down twice, do you?
Andy Ruiz Jr. should be #1 heavyweight
On paper, Ruiz Jr. should be the #1 heavyweight now that he’s beaten Joshua to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, but Hearn says he sees Ruiz behind these heavyweights: Joshua, Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. Given the order that Hearn has listed them, it appears that he believes that Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs) is the #2 heavyweight in the division behind the recently beaten Joshua. Few boxing fans would agree with that. Whyte is a decent fighter, but clearly doesn’t belong at #2 in the division.
Hearn says Joshua is best heavyweight, but Fury and Wilder are contesting for the #1 spot
“Do I feel he’s the best heavyweight in the world? Yes, I do,” said Hearn to IFL TV about Joshua. “He’s just coming off of a loss to Andy Ruiz. So right now based on performances, it’s between [Deontay] Wilder and [Tyson] Fury. I felt like Fury beat Wilder. So arguably, he [Fury] is the best heavyweight in the world. I believe he [Joshua] is, but on paper it’s hard to say that until he beats Ruiz, until he gets that position back. He lost his belts. He lost his titles,” said Hearn.
Hearn is sounding a little bitter here in failing to give Ruiz Jr. the credit for him having ended the title reign of Joshua.
Hearn giving little credit to Ruiz for win
It seems like Hearn is having a hard time coming to terms with Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) losing to Ruiz Jr. Before Joshua’s recent loss, Hearn claimed that AJ was the best heavyweight on the planet, and that he would carry the division for 10 years. Unfortunately, after less than three years as a world champion, Joshua saw his reign end at the hands of underdog Ruiz. Joshua was knocked down four times in losing by a seventh round knockout.
Hearn now is hoping that Joshua will be able to avenge his loss to Ruiz in a rematch in November or December. Joshua is a huge money maker for Hearn and his Matchroom Boxing promotional company. If Joshua loses the rematch with Ruiz, it’s going to be a major blow to Hearn, because it could lead eventually to fewer ticket sales and PPV buys for AJ. Of course, Hearn can still insist that Joshua is the #1 heavyweight, but he’s going to look a little silly.
It would be in Hearn’s best interest just to admit that Ruiz is a better fighter than Joshua at this point in time. Hearn can always lean on Joshua to get a new trainer, and try and rebuild. However, it’s doubtful Joshua will ever be able to come back from a second loss to Ruiz, but you never know.
Hearn lists four best heavyweights, Ruiz not among them
“I certainly feel like the best four heavyweights in the world are Joshua, [Dillian] Whyte, Fury and Wilder,” said Hearn. “But now you’ve got to think about Ruiz, and you’ve got to think about [Oleksandr] Usyk, and you’ve got to think about [Joseph] Parker. [Filip] Hrgovic is a monster. At the moment, Joshua is just coming off of a loss. Until he beats Ruiz, it’s very difficult to say he’s the best heavyweight in the world on paper,” said Hearn.
It’s sad when a promoter chooses not to rank a fighter that just blasted out his three-belt world champion. At this point, Whyte and Joshua should be nowhere near the the top two spots in the heavyweight division. Joshua’s loss to Ruiz removes him from the equation in terms of being the #1 heavyweight in the world. Whyte looked dreadful in his last fight against journeyman Dereck Chisora in his last fight in December. Before that fight, Whyte fought horribly in his controversial win over Joseph Parker last year in July.
Whyte would have likely lost the Parker fight had a more engaged referee been working. The referee that worked the bout gave Whyte credit for a knockdown in round two after a head-clash with Parker. Additionally, there was a massive amount of roughhouse tactics that Whyte used that arguably should have resulted in numerous point deductions. Sadly, the fight looked like an MMA guy taking on a boxer. The way Whyte fought, he didn’t look like a top five guy. He resembled more of a fringe contender at best.
Joshua’s career will be on the line in the rematch with Ruiz
If Hearn continues to insist on his belief that Joshua is the #1 heavyweight if he loses to Ruiz again in the rematch, it’s going to look pathetic. One would hope that Hearn can admit the obvious when/if that time comes. Knowledgeable boxing fans always knew that the badly flawed Joshua was a knockout waiting to happen many years ago. A second defeat for Joshua could implode his career, sending him downward in the rankings. Of course, Hearn can continue to call him the #1 heavyweight in the world, but few fans will be listening to him by that point. Hearn will look a promoter that is deep denial about his shot former champion.
Joshua lucky to have made it this far
It’s just surprising that it took this long for Joshua to be exposed, because he should have lost to Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. Heck, even Dillian Whyte would have ended the Joshua hype machine in 2015 had he not suffered a shoulder injury after staggering him in the second round. That was a stroke of luck for Hearn with Whyte tearing up his left shoulder moments after staggering him in round two. In that same fight, Joshua gassed out in the second round, and stayed tired until the sixth. The flaws were there in Joshua’s game even back then.