By Johnston Brown – Billy C Boxing
It’s been a while now since Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19KO’s) and Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53KOs) fought in ‘The Battle in the Capital’ but I am still hyped almost a week on.
There is absolutely no doubt that the fight was one of the best heavyweight championship match-ups we have seen in a very long time. In my opinion there is also absolutely no doubt that AJ is the new number one heavyweight in the division right now.
That being said the youngster from Watford, England has still been unfairly criticised by the media even though I believe he answered more questions in this one fight then he has in his previous 18.
Yes, he definitely needs to work on his conditioning if he is to continue his rise to the top. Whether that is by losing the unnecessary extra pounds he was carrying or looking at pacing himself through the rounds, I am sure that is something his team will be looking into.
But I cannot see any of the current crop of heavyweight’s managing to recover from such a big right hand that Klitschko delivered on Saturday night. In fact it would have been lights out for a majority. Both fighters showed that they can take and deliver big punches which is something that we have not seen in the division for a while.
AJ is the number one heavyweight not Fury
I have read a lot of reports that suggest that AJ is definitely not the number one heavyweight and that Tyson Fury (25-0, 18KOs) is in fact the man to beat. They also suggested that if Fury hadn’t been away from the ring for the last 18 months then Joshua would not have been heavyweight champion. Well that is actually not true because if you remember the Gypsy King was wrongly stripped of his IBF title because he decided to commit to a Klitschko rematch. Therefore, Charles Martin (21-1, 22KOs) would have still gone onto defeat Vyacheslav Glazkov (21-1-1, 13KOs) and lose his title to the Brit in April 2016.
I have read a lot of comparisons between Fury’s victory and Joshua’s stoppage against the 41 year old which is irrelevant. Fury did a fantastic job in Dusseldorf which really put the cat amongst the pigeons in the heavyweight division for the first time in over a decade. But Klitschko was a different animal in the ring on Saturday night and he would have caused Fury a world of problems in a rematch. In fact, I felt that Dr Steelhammer would have recovered his titles and still gone on to fight Joshua in search of the IBF strap.
Passing of the torch
I mentioned in my in report that there was a passing of the torch when the 27 year old defeated the Ukrainian. I mean that not only in the boxing sense but as a personality as well. Fury may be a dangerous competitor in the ring but outside the ring he is hardly from the same mould as Klitschko. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy watching him run around in a batman suit acting like a complete wolly but I am not a fan of some of his outrageous statements.
We all know that both the Klitschko brothers are gentleman in and out of the ring and have represented boxing in a great way. They let their hands do the talking rather than their mouths. So when I say ‘The Passing of the Torch’ I mean that AJ will continue to be that gentleman outside the ring but an animal within it, unlike Tyson Fury.
We all want to see the best fight the best but once again the powers that be have thrown another spanner in the works and disrupted a potential mega fight this year. As Billy C and Sal mentioned earlier on the show, the IBF have told AJ under no uncertain terms that he has to fight his mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13KOs) or be stripped of his title.
If you wasn’t aware the Bulgarian defeated Kevin Johnson (30-8-1, 14KOs) by unanimous decision on Saturday night to become the number one contender. And yes, this was the same Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson that AJ destroyed in two rounds back in 2015. I find this as frustrating as the guys do on the show because this stalls the mega fights and gives some fighters an excuse to not take on best in their division.
WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker (22-0, 18KOs) will make his first defense against late replacement Razcan Coganu (16-2, 9KOs) in Manukau City, New Zealand this Weekend. I expect a comfortable victory for the young Kiwi but he will need to make the step up in level very soon.
On May 27, Dereck Chisora (26-7, 18KOs) heads to Helsinki, Finland for a rematch with Robert Helenius (24-1, 14KOs) with a potential showdown with WBC champion Deontay Wilder (38-0, 37KOs) for the winner.
On June 3rd, 45 year old Shannon Briggs (60-6-1, 53KOs) will challenge Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24KOs) for the vacant WBA ‘regular’ title in Hollywood, Florida. This highlights our frustrations as neither of these guys deserve a title shot and nor will they make any significant impact in the division. In my opinion there should not even be a ‘super’ and ‘regular’ version within the same organisation but I’ll leave that rant for another day.
On the same night Dillian Whyte (20-1, 15KOs) will top the bill in London, England against ‘The Viking’ Mariusz Wach (33-2, 17KOs). The ‘Body Snatcher’ from Brixton, London is a tough competitor that is starting to get more accolades with every fight.
My final thoughts
The new unified champion Anthony Joshua will more than likely decide to take on his mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev unless Wladimir Klitschko activates his rematch clause. If the latter happens then I see Joshua given the same punishment as Fury had in 2015 and be stripped of his IBF title.
I hope Klitschko decides against this and opts to push for a rematch with Tyson Fury instead. This fight could happen by the end of the year but Fury will need to get himself back into the sort of shape that made him the unified heavyweight champion in 2015 to stand a chance.
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder has expressed his interest in a possible showdown with Anthony Joshua, although his team seem more interested in David Haye’s conqueror Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19KOs). To be honest I can actually see this fight happening but in the process ‘The Brown Bomber’ will lose a whole lot of credibility. Saying that, the fight would fill the gap between now and the end of the year for when both Wilder and AJ could be ready for a unification match. It’s a long shot but you never know.
One guy that should not be overlooked is 38 year old Luis Ortiz (27-0, 23KOs) who for me is one of the top heavyweights around at the moment, although he did look pretty ordinary in his last two fights. I would like to see WBO champion Joseph Parker give the Cuban a shot at his title but that will depend on the entourage that surrounds these fighters and of course those annoying sanctioning bodies.