By Barry Holbrook: Carl Froch says the fans will only accept a fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury at this point because they no longer want to wait for ages like they’ve been doing.
Like many boxing fans, Froch doesn’t understand why IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) didn’t make it clear immediately after his win over Kubrat Pulev last Saturday that he wants Fury next.
When the question was put to Joshua by interviewer Gareth Davies if he’d like to face WBC champion Fury (30-1-1, 21 KOs) next for the undisputed heavyweight championship, Joshua responded by saying that his promoter Eddie Hearn would need to answer the question.
It looked like a weak cop-out on Joshua’s part by putting the responsibility on Hearn’s shoulders for him to explain what his next move will be.
With Joshua having Hearn be the guy that is the one that is explaining what his next move, it potentially sets up a situation where he’ll be the one that will take the blame if AJ doesn’t fight Fury next.
It’s a classic move that Joshua made in leaving it to Hearn to explain who he’s facing next.
It won’t be a problem if Joshua does face Fury next, but it didn’t look good that he couldn’t answer a simple question put to him when he was asked if he’ll fight Fur next.
Froch: Fury is the only fight fans will accept for AJ
“It has to be,” said Carl Froch to Sky Sports Boxing when asked if Joshua’s next fight must be Tyson Fury. “Eddie Hearn said, but Anthony Joshua didn’t say it.
“He kind of refused to say it. I don’t know why he wouldn’t want to say ‘that’s the one.’ He asked the crowd and then put it over to Eddie. I think the only guy out there right now for him is Tyson Fury.
“It’s kind of the only fight that the crowd is going to accept. And it’s the fight that the people want. It’s almost like ancient Rome in the Coliseum.
“When the crowd has spoken and the boxing fans that follow Anthony Joshua. They want to see the Tyson Fury fight, and Anthony Joshua knows he’s got Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO mandatory.
“That’s an option. I think he knows now to get the respect of the people, which he has anyway, but there are still question marks.
“Is Tyson Fury in his head and on his mind? Eddie Hearn said that’s the fight. ‘Tomorrow morning, we’re making that fight,” said Froch.
It might not matter how much Hearn and the boxing public wants to see Joshua face Fury. If Joshua doesn’t feel motivated to make that fight happen right now, he’ll let it marinate for a little while longer.
Joshua doesn’t want to vacate his WBO title, and he knows he’s got a winnable fight against WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk that he could take before facing Fury.
That’s what we might see Joshua do because he wants the Fury fight to be for the undisputed heavyweight championship.
Joshua got his second wind in the seventh
“What he was trying to do was implement what he was doing in the gym. He was trying to box,” said Johnny Nelson about Joshua.
“At times, you could tell he wasn’t comfortable with it, but he stuck with it. In the third round, when he put the pressure on, that gassed him for two rounds.
“Usually, in a fight in round five or six, you get tired, and you get your second wind. He got his second wind around seven, and that’s when he got through with that.
“That’s when he felt settled; he was sharper; his movement was better. He boxed and bashed, and that’s what he needed to do, and that’s what they were working on and footwork as well.
“He [Pulev] was so tough, the shots he took. The uppercuts and the shots you don’t see coming. Those are the type that takes you out,” said Nelson.
There no improvement at all in Joshua’s stamina from his fights in the past, and it was troubling that it took him five rounds for him to recover from gassing out in the third. This is the same thing that we saw from Joshua in his fights against Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua gassed out in both of those contests and needed four to five rounds to get his second wind. AJ also gassed against Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight in 2019, and he took advantage of it by knocking him out.
Pulev should have been able to take advantage of Joshua fading, but he couldn’t do it. He looked too old, too, and too drained from his recent weight loss.
Kubrat Pulev deserves credit
“After round three, he came out for round four, AJ didn’t really jump on him and try and close the show, but he still took some quality shots,” said Froch.
“He then got his own jab going, and he was walking into a couple of right hands. AJ did take his foot off the gas.
“He didn’t blow a gasket, but he used a lot of energy in round three, and he’s a big lad, and that oxygen gets swallowed up.
“Then he slowly recovered in rounds four, five, and six. Pulev was still getting hit, still walking into big shots, and showing a lot of toughness.
“He needs a lot of credit for that, very tough, very strong, and showed a lot of durability,” Froch said of Pulev. “And he also showed his age in there.
“He couldn’t quite get going, and he couldn’t quite get the timing, and he was looking sloppy as the fight was drawing on.
“The writing was kind of on the wall for AJ, and I’m glad AJ got down to business and gave us the finish that was kind of there waiting for us.
“There was a point where it got to the stage where I was, ‘Come on, man. Step on the gas, put your shots together, throw the combinations, and get the job done.
“Then he threw the uppercuts and doubled up the uppercuts. You don’t often see him double up the uppercut or triple up the uppercuts, and then he closed the show and got the job done.
“Kubrat Pulev deserves loads of credit for that great performance for him playing his part. But AJ was brilliant in bursts and great early on. It was a steady fight and then a great finish,” said Froch.
Pulev was so tired by the seventh round that he couldn’t do anything on offense, and it clear that Joshua could knock him ut at any time if he went on the attack. Unfortunately, it took Joshua until the ninth round to get Pulev.
This has got to be the worst that Pulev has ever looked in his career, and it has nothing to do with Joshua.
If you compare Pulev to his last fight against Rydell Booker, it’s like two different people. Pulev’s physique was very muscular for the Booker fight, and he was a lot heavier.
The magical question happened to Pulev’s muscles, and why did he choose to trim down? It made no sense for Pulev to lose a bunch of muscle when he knew he would be facing Joshua. If anything, Pulev should have been trying to add weight rather than lose it.
Joshua should have used his jab more
“Round three was fantastic; I was really enjoying it and the combinations,” said Froch. “He [Joshua] was showing that aggression and that anger.
“He put his shots together, and we saw the results. And he did sit back and have a round or two off.
“He should have got behind that jab because the jab sets everything up if he had started working and throwing that jab early. It was a 12 round fight, and he got the job done,” said Froch.
“Sometimes the jab was there, but he wouldn’t let it go,” said Nelson of Joshua. “He gave Pulev a chance to rush forward and sling that right hand over.
“And he will see that and get better. He will look at it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s the shots I should have taken.’ He didn’t use the jab to put him off balance, but everything else.
“I liked the movement, And I liked the power. I liked the patience. They will go back and look at it with the one or two things they missed out,” said Nelson.
What Froch and Nelson don’t realize is that Joshua rarely uses his jab in his fights, as it seems to drain his batteries in the same way that it does when he throws power shots.
If you watch Joshua’s fights from the start of his career, he’s never been able to throw jabs because it tires him out consistently.
Froch needs to be recommending that Joshua revert to his old style of brawling when he eventually faces Fury because he’s never going to beat him in a jabbing contest, and he would be foolish to try.