Gareth Davies: ‘Anthony Joshua didn’t say he’s fighting Usyk next’

By Boxing News - 01/25/2022 - Comments

By Huck Allen: Gareth Davies says he still suspects that Anthony Joshua won’t be fighting Oleksandr Usyk next despite his video message on Monday saying that he hadn’t agreed to a £15 million step aside.

Gareth noticed about Joshua’s video statement that he didn’t come out and say that he planned on fighting Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) next. That would have been easy for Joshua to do.

If Joshua does choose to reject the step aside deal so that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Usyk and WBC champion Tyson Fury can fight, he would likely be doing it to show the fand that he’s not afraid.

Joshua wouldn’t be coming into the rematch with Usyk with confidence, obviously, and his chances of success would be limited.

AJ would be taking the fight for the wrong reasons to show the fans that he’s not afraid rather than him believing he can win.

Three possible fights:

  • Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte
  • Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk
  • Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua

Joshua failed to say he’s fighting Usyk next

“He didn’t say in his response that ‘I’m absolutely taking Oleksandr Usyk next,” said Gareth Davis to iFL TV in reacting to Joshua’s video statement on Monday criticizing his report of him accepting a 15 million step aside.

Image: Gareth Davies: 'Anthony Joshua didn't say he's fighting Usyk next'

“There are only three fights really that are being talked about, and that’s Fury and Whyte if they can get it over the line. Fury and Usyk, which Alexander Krassyuk has revealed they’ve been in talks with since November, and Usyk and Joshua.

These are the three fights that are causing so much consternation in the heavyweight division, and it’s involving the world’s biggest promoters and the four most prominent names in the heavyweight division right now. All those three fights are in the works.

I’m not going to reveal my sources,” said Gareth when asked WHO told him about Joshua agreeing to the 15 million pounds for the step aside deal.

“He just said he needed to see the contract and hadn’t signed anything,” Davies continued about Joshua. “He DIDN’T say, ‘Absolutely, I’m fighting Oleksandr Usyk next, and that fight is about to be announced.'” said Davies in deciphering Joshua’s video statement.

“Here we are in the last week of January, and nothing has been signed, sealed, and delivered,” Gareth continued about Joshua still not having revealed who he’s fighting next.

AJ’s training team still not revealed

It’s telling that Joshua doesn’t plan on fighting soon, given that he hasn’t named his training team.

That’s the tell-all right there that Joshua isn’t ready mentally to get back to the frontlines to continue the war. If AJ had been genuinely prepared, he would have already announced his new team.

“Alexander Krassyuk, Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter, said there have been talks with Fury as well,” said Davies.

“Read between the lines; it’s pretty obvious that those three fights are all under discussion.

“I would like to see Fury and Usyk next because it gives up a route to the fight we all want to see in Britain between Fury and Joshua,” said Davies. “If Usyk beats Fury, then we get Joshua against Usyk anyway in a second time.

“The other thing we haven’t mentioned is that Anthony Joshua hasn’t announced his training team.

“That is another reason to suspect that he may not have a fight very soon, and it may be the summer when he fights next. I think we’ll find out a lot in the next 48 hours,” said Davies.

Anthony Joshua is questioning himself

Davies believes that Joshua has been questioning himself ever since his loss to Usyk last September, and he doesn’t know what to do.

He’s looked at changing his training team, and he seems like a lost person right now who isn’t sure which direction to go in. If Joshua does choose to be brave and face Usyk in the rematch instead of taking the step aside, he could be throwing away his career.

Usyk appears to have Joshua’s number, and he could knock him out this time. You can only imagine what Joshua’s reaction will be to getting knocked out again. If he’s already sacked his team from time around, it would be pointless to change out the trainers again.

In other words, Joshua would have to take the blame for his loss instead of seeing it as a trainer issue.

Image: Gareth Davies: 'Anthony Joshua didn't say he's fighting Usyk next'

“When he responded to the story that I wrote on Monday, he said, ‘I haven’t seen the contract.’ He said, ‘I haven’t signed it,’ but not once in that video response did he say, ‘I am definitely fighting Oleksandr Usyk next, and I am definitely exercising the rematch clause,” said Davies to TalkSport on Joshua.

“Nor did he announce his training team. We know this potential Usyk-Fury fight could be tabled by a group in the Middle East. Also, Alex Krassyuk revealed they’ve been talking to Fury since last November for a fight.

“I see the non-announcement of a training team and a non-announcement of a return fight against Oleksandr Usyk as a sign that they really are thinking about delaying his return and maybe stepping aside,  which is a great business move in order for him to regather himself properly.

I think he’s questioning himself at the moment, and he’s been questioning himself since September,” said Gareth about  Joshua having lost his confidence.

Joshua has been questioning himself since well before his fight with Usyk last September.

You can argue that Joshua has been a shell of himself since losing to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019. Joshua has looked like a shell-shocked war veteran since coming out of that fight.

What Joshua experienced under fire from Ruiz has had an echo effect, making him second guess himself in every fight since. Against a fighter like Usyk, you can’t be indecisive like Joshua has shown.

Joshua is haunted by what he went through against Ruiz, and he’s not going to snap out of it. At this point, Joshua isn’t fit for battle mentally, be it against Usyk or  Tyson Fury.

Follow Chisora’s  blueprint

Many believe that the way for Joshua to defeat Usyk is for him to follow the blueprint that Dereck Chisora briefly had success in his fight against him in October 2020.

Chisora walked Usyk down and threw many looping shots to the back of the head and the body.

That was a different situation because Usyk wasn’t using his legs a lot early in that fight. When Usyk did begin using movement in the second half of the contest, he dominated Chisora.

It took Usyk a while to figure out Chisora’s style, but it was a one-sided affair once he did.

Joshua won’t have the luxury of Usyk struggling early on trying to figure out his style because he already knows the likely game plan that AJ will be using.

“He felt anger about his performance [against Usyk],”  said Gareth on Joshua, angry with himself. “We’ve seen that at points when he’s done interviews.  He wanted to outbox the boxer. George Foreman said it.

“Decide what you want to be and be it. He’s a big bruising, aggressive heavyweight, and that is what he needs to be. People will love and respect him if he goes out on his shield. That’s the way I think he should do it,”  said Gareth.

Joshua doesn’t have the warrior mentally to fight hard and is willing to go out on his shield. He’s not that type of fighter.

Yeah, Joshua gives lip service about being an old-school type fighter, but those are empty words that he’s parroting.

The fact is, Joshua is very timid inside the ring, showing much fear, afraid to throw punches due to the possibility of him being countered or gassing out.

“I think he allowed Oleksandr Usyk to outbox him, and he shouldn’t have boxed him,” said Gareth on Joshua using the wrong game plan against Usyk.

“He should have put pressure on him and walked him down. He should have pushed him in the corners and leaned on him. He should have tied him up and hit him hard.

I think he looked gunshy early on because he was potshot and hit by punches and angles that he didn’t see coming. Anthony Joshua looked in trouble at the end of it.

“Go in there fresh, and go after it early and go after Usyk. I think he can take a leaf out of what Dereck Chisora did against Usyk in the early rounds. Really bully him, make him move around the ring.

“Don’t stay behind his jab. He thought he could outbox Usyk, and that was wrong, and so was his team,” said Davies of Joshua.

At this point, it’s silly to talk about what Joshua will do in the rematch with Usyk because there’s a possibility that he’ll accept the step aside money to swerve the fight.

YouTube video