In the kinetic arena of heavyweight boxing, few matchups have garnered as much anticipation as the looming showdown between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. “Things are positive,” said Joshua in an interview with Sky Sports News, definitively ruling out the prospect of taking an interim bout before facing the American powerhouse. While Wilder’s team is eyeing a January date, Joshua is resolute: “In reality we’re trying to schedule a fight for December… In reality, I’m going to focus on the Wilder fight for now.”
Joshua’s unwavering commitment to facing Wilder next is emblematic of his career ethos. “Whoever’s good enough to take me to the trenches, let’s go. That’s what I’m looking for!” Joshua declared. It’s a statement that serves as both a challenge and an invitation, setting the tone for what promises to be a compelling narrative in the world of professional boxing.
This match would bring together two of the sport’s most formidable punchers, but Joshua is quick to highlight the facets of his boxing skillset that go beyond mere brute force. “I’m a bit smarter than that. That’s my approach to boxing. My approach to boxing is IQ and intelligence,” Joshua emphasised. Contrary to expectations, he doesn’t foresee the bout with Wilder necessarily becoming “an all-out slugfest.” “At the end of the day, it’s a fight and if it goes down that route, if someone’s good enough to bring that out of you, you’ve got to know that you’re man enough to stand up and fight for your territory,” Joshua added.
Amidst the buzz surrounding Joshua vs Wilder, there is a subplot involving another major boxing event—Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua revealed the complexity of coordinating these blockbuster fights: “Fury’s got to get past [Francis] Ngannou. Usyk’s got to get past [Daniel] Dubois. Good luck to both of them. Good luck to every party involved and we can sit down and then rejig things around.” He continued, “The goal is to have Usyk and Fury compete for the undisputed heavyweight championship, myself and Deontay Wilder, two big punchers, great fighters, been to the top of the mountain, slug it out and may the best man win.”
However, let’s not overlook the immediate challenge facing Daniel Dubois as he takes on Oleksandr Usyk this weekend for the unified WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight championships. Joshua, the former holder of those titles, gives Dubois a fighting chance. “Of course he has,” Joshua said. “It’s a tough ask, of course.” His statement acknowledges Usyk’s technical prowess: “He depends on his skill. That’s why it’s a tough ask. Because he’s going to box rings around you if you let him.”
Notably, Usyk’s first bout since dethroning Joshua last year takes place against a backdrop of geopolitical urgency, as his native Ukraine resists a Russian invasion. Usyk acknowledged this in a recent press conference, stating, “I am grateful for my team, my country, and Ukrainian soldiers. Thank you so much.”
As for Dubois, the fighter insists, “I’m just ready to go now,” encapsulating the heady mix of focus and preparation that defines the current landscape of heavyweight boxing.
Reflecting on his career thus far, Joshua has internalised the criticisms around his recent performances against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius, stating, “Everyone’s got an opinion.” Yet, his confidence remains unshaken: “I’m following a process that I trust,” he affirmed. Joshua, a two-time heavyweight and unified champion, added, “I’m sure I have a small understanding of what it takes and what I should be doing in that ring.”
As the world awaits the unfolding of these epochal clashes, Anthony Joshua’s mission to become a three-time heavyweight world champion is conspicuously at the forefront. With a keen focus on Deontay Wilder, Joshua is leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of greatness. The stakes are high, the players are primed, and the drama is palpable. It’s a pulsating era in heavyweight boxing, and as each fighter prepares to write their chapter in the annals of the sport, the global audience watches with bated breath, keen to witness history in the making.