By James Miller.
The battle for bragging rights in Boxing’s heavyweight division is firmly on after Anthony Joshua was victorious once more in Cardiff at the Principality Stadium. In doing so, Joshua extending his record to 21-0. Saturday night, British sensation Joshua went the distance for the first time in his career as he beat Joseph Parker via unanimous decision inflicting on the Samoan-New Zealander his first defeat, whilst also adding the WBO world heavyweight title to his collection. Joshua known as ‘AJ’ unified the division, now leaving him in possession of three major world titles out of four. He currently holds the WBA, IBF AND WBO world titles. The quest now will be to become undisputed world heavyweight champion. The man in his way… Deontay Wilder.
The American Wilder holds the final piece that Joshua will be looking to add. The WBC world heavyweight championship. Speculation over a potential bout for the titles has been lingering for a while now and it certainly intensified after Joshua claimed in a post-fight interview Saturday night, “Get him in the ring and I knock him spark out” referring to Wilder. Both teams have seemed to indicate in the past that they feel their potential opponent is trying to avoid the fight. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, accused Wilder of ‘not wanting it’. While in a video back in November 2017 of Wilder addressing Joshua, he questioned whether there was a hidden agenda on the Watford man’s part. Although now however, it does look like the talking may soon stop after the American confirmed he accepts the challenge put forward to him by ‘AJ’ Saturday night.
P.S. Take AFRICA off your Arm. They’re warriors. You from UK brotha pic.twitter.com/09yv1bCqrq
— Deontay Wilder (@BronzeBomber) April 1, 2018
They will each be eager to prove that they are the best. Obviously, both fighters will still have years left in the ring but a loss for either could be a huge setback, with the looser being left empty handed. The heavyweight division is reaching its most exciting times in recent years, neither will want to be left red faced with a chance for substantial glory.
This is definitely the fight that will be the main talk in the upcoming months, but it is certainly far from a sealed deal. The financial aspects of course must be agreed but there could still be other complications regarding other possible fights. There are of course question marks as to whether Dillian Whyte might be made a mandatory for Wilder to defend his title against. Just last week Whyte claimed a brutal knockout victory over Lucas Browne, he then went on to send a message to the WBC world heavyweight champion in stunning fashion. Whyte was clearly hyped up after his emphatic win as he screamed, “I’m ready, let’s get it. Deontay, let’s go, no more excuses. Forget Joshua, Joshua’s not going to be ready in time. Let’s do this. June, live at The O2, let’s get it. I’m No 1 baby. Let’s go, let’s go.
A week is a long time though in the business industry and yesterday Whyte took to social media to suggest that he is now highly interested in a potential fight with Alexander Povetkin, which could open the door for Joshua to face Wilder. The Russian was also in action Saturday night on the undercard of Joshua against Parker, as he claimed a knockout victory over David Price in the 5th round. Povetkin was rather comfortable in his battle against the colossus Price, outclassing the lethargic scouser in truth. If Whyte could put in a good performance against Povetkin, he would surely do his chances of a future world championship challenge no harm. The Russian’s only career loss to date came against the one of the greats; Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko (the only man to knock down Joshua). It certainly would be a huge test for Whyte.
A King Returns
Another thing that may put the almost inevitable clash between the two champions on the backburner could be the return of the ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury. Another man, eager to stake his claim as the best heavyweight on the planet. Known for his awkward approach, silky style and entertaining nature, Fury is yet to feature since he unified the division back in 2015 after beating Klitschko via unanimous decision. Fury who stands at a massive height of 6’9, was banned due to testing positive for elevated levels of nandrolone in February 2015. He voluntarily vacated his titles in 2016, turning his attention to his own personal recovery after a tough time suffering from mental illness. He said at the time the decision to vacate was “only fair and right”. It had seemed that maybe Fury may not return at all but that has now been put to bed after he announced via Instagram back in October 2017 that he was coming back for the ‘Bronze Bomber’ Wilder and Joshua. The Mancunian accepted a back dated 2-year doping ban, leaving him free to resume his return to the ring. Providing he was successful in regaining his boxing licence, which he was. Since then, the attention has really turned to his physical state after he was pictured alongside former Boxer Ricky Hatton, in what has to be described as a poor condition. However, Fury has been working vigorously to step up his attempts to prove himself as the best again. The ‘Gypsy King’ is certainly confident of his chances ahead of his return and is out for a fight with Joshua or Wilder himself.
Tyson Fury (left) is dedicating himself to getting back in fighting shape as he looks to make a comeback. (Source: @gypsyking101/Instagram)
The next few months promise to be intriguing, as negotiations for heavyweight fights continue. Will the fight to become undisputed world champion be next for Joshua, what do you think?
James is a sports enthusiast from Teesside, who is currently studying sports journalism in Manchester at UCFB. He has a fond interest of sports, and music. James enjoys discussing varied opinions and trying to understand different interpretations. He currently writes as a Journalist for TCS Scribe.