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Anthony Joshua: “Deontay Wilder is my preference’

Image: Anthony Joshua: "Deontay Wilder is my preference'

By Scott Gilfoid: Anthony Joshua is says his preference for his next fight would be for him to face Deontay Wilder, because he wants his WBC heavyweight title. Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) won back his IBF/WBA/WBO belts in beating champion Andy Ruiz Jr. (33-2, 22 KOs) by a less than eye-pleasing 12 round unanimous decision on December 7 in Saudi Arabia, and it a boring fight for a lot of boxing fans.

The victory for the 29-year-old Joshua left more questions than answers though, considering that he used the ugly Wladimir Klitschko template to beat Andy by running and holding for 12 rounds. As we saw with Wladimir, that style of fighting only works against passive, limited or small fighters that lack ingredients to defeat it. Wladimir failed when he stepped up against pressure fighters like Corrie Sanders, Ross Puritty and Lamon Brewster.

Joshua sounding TOO confident

The win for Joshua shot his confidence through the roof, as he’s now back to sounding ultra-confident in same way that he’d been talking before his loss to Ruiz last June. Joshua speaks now like his feet are no longer touching the ground, and it’s sad how one win an overweight 283-lb Ruiz has put grand ideas into his head. We don’t know how Joshua would do against an in shape Ruiz in a trilogy fight, and that’s what boxing fans want to see. Yeah, Joshua can beat a near 300-lb Ruiz, but can he beat him when he’s svelte at 250 pounds?

Joshua is expected to take one for the team by giving up his WBO heavyweight title in order to set-up a fight between Matchroom fighters Oleksandr Usyk and Joshua Parker for the vacant belt.

Joshua wants Wilder fight

“Some people wonder if I’m going to quit, and I am still going to box,” said Joshua to RT Sport. “There’s all these questions. I’m just happy my supporters are smiling, so they can turn up the trash talk. But now they’re walking with their chest out and their head high. It’s not stylistically or so much a grudge,” said Joshua when asked if he has a preference in fighting Deontay Wilder.

It’s that I got 4 belts, and I want the last one,” Joshua continued in talking about wanting Wilder’s WBC title. “So Deontay Wilder preference. Since I’ve been back, It’s been like 2 weeks and I haven’t even had a chance to think of, let alone my New Year’s resolution that I would know who I’m fighting next.

“Whoever is the better opponent for me would be ideal,” said Joshua when asked who he wants to fight next. “I’m not too fussed. If you look down my record, we’ve fought champions, and we’ve fought great fighters. Another one on that list would be an honor for me, because I feel it builds my legacy,” said Joshua.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is the key player in making the Joshua vs. Wilder fight. It’s up to Hearn whether he wants to let Joshua fight Wilder in a match for the undisputed championship, because he’s been seen as the guy dragging his feet in making that match.

AJ has to give up one of his belts, because the IBF and WBO have failed to agree which of the 2 mandatory defenses come first for Joshua.

Losing to Ruiz hurt Joshua’s fans

“The last 10 years have been hell and torture, but the way you walk through it in grace,” said Joshua in summing up the last 10 years of his career. “So the first 10 years, you walk over the hot coals and you get burned in your feet, and then you get used to it. It’s a painful journey, you make a lot of sacrifices, but you have a lot of memorable times and memorable moments.

“Experience is the best teacher. So I’ve learned a lot, and it makes me the man I am today,” said Joshua. “I feel like where I came from and where we came, anything is better than where we started and achievement. So we keep breaking boundaries. It’s good to beat Ruiz and prove to myself I can do it, but I always knew to myself  that it was in me.

“So I always said that when I win or when they ask me how I feel when I lost, I always say I was always at the top level,” said Joshua. “It’s normal to me, but the main benefit is for my supporters, because they felt my loss.

“When I lost, it echoed across different countries.” said Joshua in talking about his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. last June. “When I went back to Nigeria, they felt it. To win was a benefit for people around the world. For me, I know I can do it, and I believe in myself. No one knows how I feel inside,” said Joshua.

If Joshua wants that fight with Wilder, then he’s going to need to get passed his next mandatory in 2020, because he needs his 3 straps to gain admittance to the playing field.

Joshua wants to break boundaries

“I don’t really shy away from a challenge, so whoever steps up first will have the opportunity to try and come and take my belts. Yeah, definitely,” said Joshua when asked if he would be interested in trying another sport like MMA. It’s easy to say, ‘You shouldn’t do it,’ but in life you shouldn’t ever set limits on yourself.

“When opportunities present themselves, anyone should go out and try and test their limits and boundaries,” said Joshua. “So if it’s MMA or acting or anything like that presented itself, I’d take the opportunity. I only live once, so I might as well experience all there is to offer.

“I think Wladimir Klitschko and Povetkin fought there last,” said Joshua when asked if he’d be interested in fighting in Russia in the future. “So if that’s an opportunity, 110 percent, and that’s the same answer as the last time. Never set limits or options or anything like that, I’d definitely consider,” said Joshua.

Gilfoid doesn’t know what Joshua is babbling about, but he sure as heck isn’t going to fight in MMA anytime soon. In the latest boxing news, Joshua is saying he’s got 15 fights left in his career before he retires from the sport. That comes out to roughly 7 more years before he retires at 37. For him to go into MMA at that age, I don’t see it happening.

AJ needs to stay in the present time

It sounds like Joshua has a major hangup when it comes to his legacy, as he’s focusing too much on how he’ll be perceived when he’s gone. Joshua has already showed that he hasn’t learned his lesson from his loss to Ruiz. Last June, Joshua was lost in reverie thinking about the greatness he would achieve in beating Wilder.

Instead of focusing on the hear and now present time, Joshua’s head was up in the poppies, thinking about all the adoration he would receive after beating Wilder to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. What happened next is Ruiz snapped Joshua back into this present time by giving him a royal thrashing and making him quit in the 7th round.

As far as the MMA stuff goes, Joshua will be an old timer by the time he retires, and his already shaky punch resistance will likely have worsened. Who knows? By that point in Joshua’s career, he might not be able to beat even journeyman level opposition. Look what happened with Wladimir when he was in his late 30s. He got picked off by the light hitting Tyson Fury, and could no longer pull the trigger on his punches.

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