A few years ago, I listed Anthony Joshua as one of the most exiting boxers in Britain. Since then, he’s gone on to win a world title and become, seemingly, the whole country’s favourite fighter.
He’s gone about his business in his own way too, avoiding the trash talk of most boxers designed to sell fights. With fight fans around the world enamoured by Conor McGregor and his outrageous (and entertaining) pressers and Dereck Chisora intent on fighting the whole world before the first bell, it’s refreshing to hear AJ talk up his opponents, treat people with respect and be an all round good guy.
He’s big, good looking, a nice guy and knocks people out. And boy does he knock people out (link). A promoters dream. And now he’s going to take over the US.
AJ’s team have signed what is being described as a “multi-fight deal” with Showtime to show his fights to a US audience. This is big news for him.
The US loves the heavies above all other divisions, and the recent dire straits of the division has left the US desperate for a hero. Yes, they’d like an American champ, but if they can’t have that, they want an exciting champ. AJ fits that bill.
Importantly for AJ, Showtime works with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. The reality is that Wilder looks an “easier” fight – if that’s not too disparaging of a heavy handed world champ, but he’s not as canny as Tyson Fury or Wladimir Klitschko. A few fights to pad his record with more explosive knock outs and if AJ takes the belt of Wilder, he’ll hold all the cards when negotiating with Fury (or whoever holds the other belts).
Stephen Espinoza, the man at Showtime responsible for the AJ deal was keen to press the claim of British boxing to be the worlds best at the moment. He said,
“British Boxing is at an all-time high. There are more UK champions that at any point in history. Boxing is such a global sport and Joshua has global potential.”
His first fight with Showtime and his first defence of the title, will be against the unbeaten American Dominic Breazeale. Breazeale fought in London at the 2012 Olympics and will be back in town to fight Joshua at the O2 Arena on 25 June.
While Breazeale is undefeated in all 17 of his pro fights – similar record to Joshua’s 16-0 record, no serious money will be put on the American. Yes, he will talk tough:
“I’m hoping Anthony Joshua is preparing to be in a war and a dog fight because that is what I’m bringing. I’m not coming here to hear the final bell or the judges scores, I’m coming all guns blazing and to knock Anthony Joshua out.”
Unfortunately for Breazeale, to misquote Mike Tyson’s famous line – everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth – this will probably apply to him.
He IS right about one thing though… he won’t need the final bell or scorecards.