Anthony Joshua defends his IBF, WBA Super, IBO and WBO world heavyweight titles against Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York on Saturday night, but the questions surrounding Deontay Wilder refuse to go away.
The undefeated Brit takes on Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in a bout originally set for Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, who was pulled due to a string of failed drug tests earlier this year.
Joshua wanted Wilder to be in the front row at ringside following his emphatic triumph over fellow American Dominic Breazeale earlier in the month, but the ‘Bronze Bomber’ won’t be in attendance.
Negotiations for a unification bout between Joshua and Wilder have been far from a success so far, but the latter has spoken very highly of his rival’s first round knockout at the Barclays Center, labelling the nature of the victory as “sensational, unbelievable.”
When asked if he was being sarcastic, Joshua repeated his praise: “No, it was that good. Beautiful knockout, straight down the pipe.
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“I wanted Breazeale to get up because I wanted to see a bit more action, do you know what I mean? I was at a sports bar in Miami watching it after training, but he got the job done, as he should.”
It took the 29-year-old seven rounds to drop Breazeale with a strong left at the O2 Arena in London three years ago, and it seems it’s rattled him a bit knowing Wilder got the job done in much swifter fashion.
(Joshua talks about Wilder vs Breazeale from 01:00-01:58)
“I know it was stupid of me wasn’t it; I should have taken him out earlier. I won’t be making that mistake again, you know what I mean?
“I could have taken him out in the second round, but I went easy and hurt him in the second.
“Comparing, he’s done a better job knocking him out earlier than me so he’s a good fighter and that’s why I want to compete against him.”
It’s no secret Joshua would also like to face Tyson Fury, with talks as far off as with Wilder and the ‘Gypsy King’ now destined to square off against Dillian Whyte, as long as they find success against Tom Schwarz and Oscar Rivas respectively.