Anthony Joshua tried to tell the world that he was serious about putting Eric Molina in his place. He trounced his overmatched competition in three rounds this past weekend. It wasn’t even that close.
The IBF World Heavyweight Champion has come under fire for punching below his talent level in recent fights. With a bout with Wladimir Klitschko in April on the horizon, he steps up to an opponent on the same level as himself.
Joshua is still unbeaten and heading into a legitimate test of his skill against Klitschko. His promoter Eddie Hearn is taking note of the increased danger associated with this fight.
He told Boxing News: “It’s well beyond anything he’s done - I’m not saying he’s not the favorite or anything - but how can you compare anything he’s done previously to this? It’s a massive risk.”
A calculated risk is the perfect way to position this fight because there is intrigue based on Joshua’s status as Britain’s biggest boxer at the moment. His television distribution deals are quickly making him a larger figure on the world’s stage.
If he can beat Klitschko, then his profile will shoot even higher and he will await even bigger challenges like WBO World Champion Joseph Parker and WBC Champion Deontay Wilder. The public will be in for some form of a mega-fight.
Hearn warns that there will be no easing back into easy fights: “You can’t go and earn what he’ll earn in this fight and then go and fight a voluntary or mandatory nobody’s ever heard of for three million quid, it’s just not going to happen.”
His promoter is absolutely right. A fighter of Joshua’s stature cannot dip his toes back into the waters of these lower tier fighters after accomplishing such a feat. He will have to face the best of the best head on in order to keep growing.
The hype is already building and will continue to mount until April. For now, two titans wait to duke it out for the decisive Unified Heavyweight Championship.