Anthony Joshua is like a baseball player beaned by a pitch.
Reluctant to engage.
He’s been this way since losing his heavyweight crown to Andy Ruiz four years ago. That night in New York, Joshua, engaging, floored Ruiz with a sweet short left hook. Even Ruiz seemed to appreciate the crispness of the blow. Ruiz pulled himself up and ate a massive right hand. He then fired back. One shot bounced off the temple of Joshua.
Down he went.
Joshua got up but never fully recovered from the blow. He lost the fight and part of himself a few rounds later. To his credit, Joshua beat Ruiz in a rematch – boxing and staying out of harm’s way.
The conventual thinking was he’d eventually get over his loss and return to his more aggressive self. Hasn’t happened. Joshua lost his title and a rematch to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021.
No disgrace there – unlike his behavior after the bout was over.
His meltdown appeared triggered by disappointment, pressure, and criticism. Joshua fired his “new” trainer Robert Garcia and brought in Derrick James. They’ve won two fights since getting together, but Joshua is not Joshua.
He’s the safety-first boxer. Combinations don’t exist. It’s strange to see such a massive truck like Joshua hesitating to let fly. His gears are stuck.
Last weekend he fought Robert Helenius, an average fighter with a great nickname (The Nordic Nightmare). Helenius won’t haunt any top heavyweights, but he’s a gamer. He tried his hardest against Joshua, perhaps winning the first round and losing the rest. Especially in round seven when Joshua finally stepped in and fired a right hand.
Boom, down, and out.
Joshua then screamed an obscenity, bolted the ring, and shared a beer with Conor McGregor – while Helenius was still on the canvas.
Joshua wants Deontay Wilder next.
“I’m just focused on smashing [Wilder’s] head in now – and that’s it,” said Joshua after the Helenius fight.
I don’t think so. Wilder is favored by just about everybody.
Joshua’s victory did not impress Wilder trainer Malik Scott.
“Deontay is coming to send him to the next dimension, and that is his intention,” said Scott. “When he is not punching at you, he is punching through you.”
Joshua could win, though. He’s captured gold and the heavyweight title twice. His jab has improved since teaming up with James. He’s a pretty good fighter in the modern era of heavyweights. Self-belief won’t be enough for Joshua to beat Wilder, but a little more would help.
Then there’s Dereck Chisora. He’s all guts – pure warrior.
Nobody has ever accused him of being cautious. He’s 39 years old, a veteran of 47 fights, many of them wars.
Last weekend he fought Gerald Washington. He was in shape, as was Washington. But the action was slow.
Father Time always wins.
I wish Chisora would retire.
He answered “that” after the fight.
“I’m not stopping, f*** off. Not yet, not yet. It’s not time yet,” Chisora said. “I’ve got three more fights, then I’m out. I want to get to 50.
“I do what the f*** I want because I’m WAR.”
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