After defeating Jermaine Franklin in a less-than-scintillating performance last Saturday night, Anthony Joshua talked about Tyson Fury.
“I try and provide for the fans; I know who the fans want – who do the fans want?” said Joshua on DAZN. ”They said Fury, yeah?”
Joshua’s win was expected, but most, including Joshua, wanted something explosive.
Something that he used to provide several years ago.
What was it?
He admitted as much after the bout.
“I should have knocked him out, but what can I say now? It’s done, on to the next.”
Joshua is not the same guy who stopped Wladimir Klitschko five years ago. Whatever passion he once had, looks gone. He can fight tentatively at times.
Saturday night, he used his big jab to keep Franklin off balance. His left won him the fight. His right landed as well, but any additional firepower looked dull.
Mentally, he looks unsure.
In 2019, I wrote an article defending Joshua after his rematch win over Andy Ruiz. Many complained of his safety-first style. The thinking from the more open-minded was Joshua needed a win to get his mojo back, but four years later, he’s still searching.
Dillian Whyte, who Joshua knocked out in 2015, was blunt.
“I don’t think he looked particularly good tonight,” said Whyte. “He seems a bit apprehensive. The right hand is still there, and the boxing skills are still there, but the aggression is not there.”
As the Brits like to say, “Spot on.”
Whyte edged Franklin last year. A draw seemed fair. Whyte scoffs at those who said he lost.
“The hardest man to beat is someone who’s an undefeated heavyweight,” said Whyte. “He’s been beaten already. His mind is broke.”
Interesting assessment. A safety-first Joshua beat Franklin a lot easier than Whyte – though Whyte rarely allows reality to get the better of him.
“He wants to fight my leftovers and then talk s**t,” Whyte said. “Oh, [Franklin has] lost this much weight. He looks better.” No, he’s not.”
Yes, he does. Franklin was in better shape for the Joshua fight. And very motivated. Wasn’t enough. Even a less-than-stellar Joshua is the better fighter.
Whyte’s fight with Joshua was a good one. The 2015 version of Joshua got off to a rip-roaring start, staggering Whyte in round one. Joshua looked to end matters in round two until a Whyte check left hook buzzed him. Whyte went after him, but the big man survived.
Joshua was back in control in rounds five and six. In round seven, as Whyte languished on the ropes, Joshua unloaded. Whyte wobbled away, but Joshua ended matters with an uppercut.
Whyte has only lost three times in his career, but all those losses were by knockout. Franklin hurt him in his last fight, and Fury knocked him out. Whyte is borderline chinny.
Perhaps a knockout victory over Whyte would help Joshua bury some mental demons. A second camp with new trainer Derrick James would also help.
No need to face Fury next – unless Joshua wants to cash out.
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