Johnny Nelson says that Anthony Joshua’s achievements and rapid rise in the world of heavyweight boxing are being overlooked.
Britain’s unified champ steps back into the ring this weekend on December 12 in a mandatory bout against the bruising Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, in potentially the final step on a Tyson Fury collision course, barring a potential WBO mandatory scrap with Oleksandr Usyk.
When looking into Joshua’s career from the beginning, it makes his current status look even more impressive. Picking up the sport aged 18, a prestigious Olympic Gold would follow in 2012 on home soil.
He then got his title shot in only his 16th fight, quite frankly embarrassing the American Charles Martin with a stoppage win inside just two rounds in order to win the IBF belt.
The Watford native has fought against some of the highest level opponents during his career, defeating bitter domestic rival, former WBC mandatory for over 1,000 days, Dillian Whyte.
Add to that a knockout win against the experienced, yet dangerous, Alexander Povetkin, his thriller against Wladimir Klitschko and comfortable rematch win against Andy Ruiz Jr to avenge a shock defeat.
‘The Gypsy King’ himself was the one to shock the world by ending Klitschko’s reign back in 2015, before mental health and addiction troubles led to several years out of the ring, as many doubted he’d fight again.
He picked up the WBC belt this year after bulldozing his way to a TKO victory against Deontay Wilder.
When comparing the champions, however, Nelson believes AJ and his calibre of opponents have been overlooked in comparison to Fury, and he shouldn’t be seen as the underdog.
“No he doesn’t,” Nelson told talkSPORT. “You’ve got to look at the amount of champions or ex-champions he has boxed.
“Out of all them – including Tyson Fury – look at the calibre and the titles of the guys he has boxed.
“People just seem to forget that in an instance so I can imagine that frustration from AJ thinking.
“He must be thinking, ‘Hold on, look at all these champions I have boxed. Why are people ignoring this and making Fury a favourite when I have done this?’
He’s not even boxed half the calibre of fighters Joshua has fought. Unfortunately, unless you do your homework and look in depth, you have to make up your own mind.
“Don’t be swayed by what is said on the microphone or what you read in the newspaper; be swayed by what you see, be swayed by fact, be swayed by what actually works.”
Nelson then went on to address the fears of rustiness surrounding Joshua, who hasn’t fought in over 12 months since reclaiming his belts in Saudi Arabia, stating that such an issue wouldn’t be a concern.
“This lockdown has been a leveller for everybody,” he added. “Ring rust is no excuse for anybody.
“Because everybody is in the same position and it is not exclusive to any fighter; it’s the same for AJ as it is for Pulev.
“He’s not boxed for so long as well, so these guys have been training and sparring, they’re preparing and I’m quite sure all he could do was box and train with sparring partners.
“So the only difference is you’re doing it in public and this ring rust line can’t be used by any fighter because everybody is in the same position and the only difference is that you are not performing in front of a crowd.”News Now - Sport News