Anthony Joshua claims he would fight Deontay Wilder regardless of belts!
For unified heavyweight champion Anthony “AJ” Joshua (23-1, 21 KO’s) the year and decade are ending on very high notes. The UK superstar was able to successfully recapture his four belts that had been forcefully absconded away by Andy “Destroyer” Ruiz Jr (33-2, 22 KO’s).
By pulling off the impressive feat, AJ resumed being the top belt carrying heavyweight and restored his tremendous negotiation leverage.
WHY’S EVERYONE ALWAYS PICKING ON ME?
Unfortunately for Joshua, even with all his late year dramatics, he has not been able to shake questions about WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KO’s).
Like a box of Junior Mints left in the hot sun, the two fighter’s names have melted and mixed with one another to the point they will never be completely separate.
The fans want to see this showdown and Joshua will not be able to avoid their demand. Although, let him tell it, AJ is a bit mystified as to why so many in the boxing world are under the impression that he doesn’t want to mix it up with Wilder.
In an interview with Sky Sports he feigned bewilderment as to why fans would think such a thought.
Perhaps AJ has forgotten the winding and frustrating back story that their respective teams have written together. Maybe Joshua forgot turning down $50 million dollars to tangle with the Bomber.
Perhaps he doesn’t remember that the WBC champion was willing to accept an insultingly low flat rate to face AJ. It could be that Joshua doesn’t recollect that he and his team repeatedly said that fighting Wilder could wait for years…if it ever happened.
“Why do you think he [Wilder] gets the message that I don’t want to fight?
“Let’s put the belts aside. There is a guy in the heavyweight division named Deontay Wilder. Will he be a man that I fight with or without the belt? Yes! I think we put too much emphasis on the belts…let’s put that aside.
“If me and him face off, man on man, I’ll fight him and he’ll fight me. So ,there is no two ways about who is ducking or who’s doing what. It’s competition but at the highest levels and that’s what we fight for.
“So, with or without the belts its competition that I live for. That’s why I’m still in the business.”
THE BENEFIT OF DOUBT
There is a chance that Joshua does not have any memory of these events but that is highly unlikely. The aforementioned history makes up the bulk of the reasons that people are skeptical of his willingness to face Wilder.
However, similar to a loving AA sponsor, boxing enthusiasts are generally very willing to forgive past transgressions so long as a fighter amends their behavior and sticks to the accepted program.
At the moment, with the heavyweight division as popular as it’s been for years, Joshua has a great opportunity to prove all his doubters and naysayers wrong. All he has to do is slide in the ring with Wilder.
But will he do it? And, just as important, when will he do it?
It’s a well-known fact in the industry that AJ has to satisfy two mandatory title defenses before he can think about anyone else. Therefore, until Joshua settles up with Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev and Oleksandr Usyk, it’s almost pointless to keep bringing up Wilder.
Yet, in the meantime, he will remain submerged in a rushing river of questions regarding his rival. For his sake, and ours, let’s hope this mouthwatering rivalry can be put together as soon as possible.
“I always say isn’t it plain to see from Charles Martin to unifying with Klitschko, to unifying again with Joseph Parker, to losing the titles, to fighting to win them back against Andy Ruiz to show you that I’m not giving up?
“I’m continuously fighting solid competition to keep me in line and check as the number one heavyweight in the world…I’m just a guy who takes on all comers and challengers.”
By: Bakari Simpson