VIEW FROM THE TOP

The heavy­weight king casts his eye over his cas­tle and has some ad­vice for the likes of Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce, writes De­clan Tay­lor

Boxing News - - News -

AN­THONY JOSHUA is adamant a lack of depth in the heavy­weight di­vi­sion will not af­fect his abil­ity to build an all-timegreat legacy. The 27-year-old WBA and IBF heavy­weight cham­pion must see off manda­tory chal­lenger Kubrat Pulev [in­set, right] at Cardiff’s Principality Sta­dium on October 28 be­fore he can look ahead to uni­fi­ca­tion fights in 2018.

Deon­tay Wilder, the WBC cham­pion, and WBO belt-holder Joseph Parker will be high on Joshua’s hitlist but, be­yond them, there seems a lack of mar­quee names.

With Tyson Fury still un­li­censed and some way off his fight­ing weight and David Haye sched­uled to face Tony Bellew in a re­match on De­cem­ber 16, a do­mes­tic show­down with ei­ther of the coun­try’s other big names seems fur­ther away than ever.

Mean­while, the di­vi­sion suf­fered an­other dam­ag­ing blow late in Septem­ber when the WBA’S manda­tory chal­lenger Luis Or­tiz, who rep­re­sented an­other mean­ing­ful fight for Joshua, tested pos­i­tive for a banned sub­stance. That news will surely put a line through his anticipated clash with Wilder in New York, set for Novem­ber 4 in New York, and also dam­aged the chances of him ever fac­ing Joshua.

But al­though a lack of gen­uine com­pe­ti­tion could af­fect the way he is re­mem­bered, Joshua re­mains re­laxed. “It’s true,” he said. “But it’s down to fights.

“Look­ing for­ward you never know. Peo­ple might say Pulev is an easy fight but he might come and put me in a place I haven’t been be­fore that I didn’t ex­pect maybe. It might be a barn­storm­ing fight. You just never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen.” Muham­mad Ali forged his legacy via un­for­get­table fights against the likes of Joe Fra­zier, Ge­orge Fore­man and Ken Nor­ton. Later, Mike Tyson, Len­nox Lewis and Evan­der Holy­field all tan­gled dur­ing an­other glit­ter­ing era for the di­vi­sion. Joshua added: “If I fight Joe Bloggs, who the book­ies may not have put in a po­si­tion to beat me, but he ends up putting up one hell of a fight, that takes his stock up and it cre­ates that type of Ali-fra­zier, that tril­ogy. “You have to re­mem­ber Fra­zier was a gold medal­ist, Ali, Fore­man, they were all peak level fight­ers of the era, and they all came to­gether and ended up fight­ing each other. “It seems we don’t have that right now

‘IF I FIGHT DANIEL DUBOIS OR JOE JOYCE TO­MOR­ROW IT WILL BE A BIG FIGHT’

but Joe Joyce has just turned pro and Tony Yoka too. So there’s a new wave com­ing through. In three years as a pro I’ve man­aged to catch the at­ten­tions of the di­vi­sion and I will def­i­nitely give all these guys the op­por­tu­nity to come and chal­lenge for the belt.”

As well as Joyce [be­low] and Yoka, who have both turned over since they clashed for the su­per-heavy­weight gold medal at the Rio Olympics last year, Joshua is also keep­ing a close eye on the fledg­ling ca­reer of Daniel Dubois.

The tow­er­ing pair have sparred in Sh­effield and Dubois claims he floored the world cham­pion dur­ing one of the ses­sions. He is now 5-0 with all wins com­ing in­side two rounds.

Dubois’ pro­moter Frank War­ren has de­scribed him as Bri­tain’s most pow­er­ful heavy­weight of the last 30 years but, at just 20 years old, any con­ver­sa­tion about fac­ing Joshua is at least a few years pre­ma­ture.

“Will my path cross with Dubois? Yes. All heavy­weights have an op­por­tu­nity to make a big play in the di­vi­sion,” Joshua said. “He’ll be a player amongst the rest and I will fight him at some stage when he moves up.”

When asked how far Dubois, vet­eran of just seven se­nior am­a­teur con­tests, is from world level, Joshua said: “How can I say? He has peo­ple guid­ing him, so it’s kind of their choice. How many fights has he had? Three or four. He’s a long way off. If a fighter wants a sprint, he can go all guns blazing, but they don’t last long.

“I was watch­ing a doc­u­men­tary and I saw Kl­itschko when he got beaten. But then where are the guys who beat Kl­itschko? You don’t hear of them, do you? How do you pro­long your ca­reer, your legacy? You can’t rush.

“I don’t know what Dubois will do, it’s up to them whether they put him on a 100m course or a 400m track and they cre­ate a ca­reer or a legacy for him.”

So does Joshua need the likes of Dubois, Joyce and Yoka to get a move on in or­der to add more depth to his 19-0 record?

“No, I don’t need it,” he said. “I’m cre­at­ing my own path­way, I don’t need any­one. I’m just happy go­ing at my own pace, it’s not a sprint, it’s a ca­reer. I’ve got an­other 10 years in the game and I can’t fight every­one by next year, it’s just not pos­si­ble. I’m plan­ning for the long term, not the short term, and ev­ery­thing will work out for the best.

“If I fight Daniel Dubois to­mor­row it will be a big fight, if I fight Joe Joyce to­mor­row it will be a big fight. That’s the way the di­vi­sion is rock­ing at the mo­ment, I don’t need to put all my eggs in one bas­ket with one op­po­nent at the mo­ment.

“I could fight any­one and it would be a big fight. Peo­ple just want to see who’s go­ing to be the man to beat me.

“That’s what peo­ple come out for — to see me knock some­one out cold or to see them knock me out cold. It’s one or the other.”

Photo: AC­TION IMAGES VIA REUTERS/AN­DREW COULDRIDGE/AN­DREW BOYERS/ADAM HOLT

HERE FOR A LONG TIME: Joshua plans to fight for sev­eral more years

WE HAVE HIS­TORY: Dubois [above] is still a long way be­low world cham­pi­onship level, de­spite re­port­edly do­ing very well with Joshua in spar­ring

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