Anthony Joshua’s Knockout Win Fuels Wilder Match Expectations

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Anthony Joshua's Knockout Win Fuels Wilder Match Expectations
Questions Arise After Joshua’s Dominant Win, Eyes Set on Wilder Clash

In a stunning display of skill and power, Anthony Joshua secured a seventh-round knockout victory over Robert Helenius on Saturday, leaving the boxing world abuzz with speculations about his readiness to face Deontay Wilder in their highly anticipated mega-fight.

Joshua’s victory came as no surprise, given his status as a former world champion. However, the emphatic nature of the win has fueled debates about whether he’s prepared to take on the fierce challenge posed by Deontay Wilder. The upcoming mega-fight, set to take place in Saudi Arabia during the first quarter of 2024, promises Joshua a career-high payday of $60 million (£47 million).

The late replacement of Helenius as Joshua’s opponent in London didn’t dampen the excitement surrounding the bout. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has assured fans that the announcement of the mega-fight against Wilder is “imminent.” The ringside presence of Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz further emphasized the significance of this impending match.

Hearn stated with confidence, “If Joshua hits Wilder on the chin, then it is over. This is about Anthony Joshua now, it is not about pleasing others. He has given everything to British boxing.” The anticipation for an official announcement continues to build, with Hearn anticipating it “in the next couple of weeks.”

Joshua himself seized the moment to address his critics and assert his evolving boxing prowess. During a brief quiet period in the third round against Helenius at the O2 Arena, some spectators voiced their discontent. Joshua responded, “Why am I going to go in there and trade from round one? We are building confidence in myself, which is important, and I have confidence in my team.”

Despite the late change in opponents, Joshua showcased his adaptability and strategy. “He was presenting certain obstacles for me to get over and Derrick (James, trainer) guided me to that knock-out,” Joshua revealed. The victory marked Joshua’s 26th professional win and laid the foundation for the anticipated Wilder showdown.

Addressing the boos from the audience, Joshua provided a perspective on the nature of competitive boxing. “Are they booing me or booing Helenius? That is the question. I think they don’t understand it is competitive boxing. We are trying to shut each other’s passes down. It is a game of chess.”

Observers note that Joshua’s fighting style has evolved from a reckless aggressor to a more cautious and strategic approach. The seventh-round knockout against Helenius, reminiscent of his earlier career, demonstrated his ability to balance caution with explosive power.

Eddie Hearn drew parallels with Wladimir Klitschko’s transformation after defeats and expressed his contentment with Joshua’s evolution. “AJ isn’t a gung-ho fighter anymore and we are seeing him evolve as a different kind of fighter, just like Wladimir Klitschko did all those years ago after his defeats, and it’s working for AJ. This is a rebuilding process.”

While the excitement for the Wilder fight grows, some voices in the boxing world caution against underestimating Wilder’s prowess. Former world champions David Haye and Tony Bellew advise Joshua to consider another fight before facing the American rival. Malik Scott, Wilder’s trainer, shared Wilder’s satisfaction with Joshua’s victory and conveyed Wilder’s readiness for a January showdown.

Despite the differing opinions, Joshua remains resolute. “Any time is a good time to fight. It could have been Wilder eight years ago or Wilder now. It doesn’t matter,” Joshua affirmed. “It is only a fight and boxing wins so roll on really.”

With fans eagerly awaiting the official announcement and the showdown between two boxing giants on the horizon, Joshua’s determination to take on the best and make his mark on heavyweight boxing remains unwavering.

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