25 December 2023
Delayed Plans and Ruined Dreams: A Look at the Missed Opportunity Between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder
It was a fight that should have happened six years ago. Anthony Joshua, holding the IBF and WBA versions of the world heavyweight title, and Deontay Wilder, the WBC heavyweight champion, were at the peak of their profession. Both men were in their physical and psychological prime, and a unification fight between them would have undoubtedly been a riveting contest. However, due to promotional rivalries, sanctioning body politics, and the egos of boxing’s powerbrokers, the fight never materialized. Now, as contracts are signed for a Joshua-Wilder fight in 2024, their delayed plans have been consigned to the realm of ruined dreams.
Wilder’s Embarrassing Defeat and the Fallout
In a one-sided bout in Riyadh, Deontay Wilder was beaten by Joseph Parker. The judges’ scorecards reflected the lopsided nature of the fight, with one judge giving every round to Parker. Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, laid the blame squarely on Wilder, stating that it was the most one-sided heavyweight fight he had ever seen. The defeat has not only ruined the plans for a Joshua-Wilder showdown but also cast doubt on Wilder’s reputation as an elite heavyweight.
Wilder’s Legacy and the Fury Trilogy
Despite his defeat to Parker, it is important to acknowledge Deontay Wilder’s electrifying force in boxing. His highlight reel of knockouts, although against journeymen, showcased his devastating power. Additionally, his epic trilogy of fights with Tyson Fury demonstrated the courage and power of both men in a series of unforgettable world title fights. While Wilder and Fury were compelling dance partners, their rivalry took a toll on Wilder, as evident in his lackluster performance against Parker.
Joshua’s Redemption and the Wallin Fight
Anthony Joshua, on the other hand, looked impressive and focused in his recent fight against Otto Wallin. After suffering defeats to Andy Ruiz Jr. and Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua’s mindset seemed uncertain. However, his dominant performance against Wallin showcased his determination to reclaim his status as the best heavyweight in the world. Eddie Hearn went as far as to claim that Joshua is leagues above Wilder, despite their proposed showdown being marketed as a definitive encounter. With this newfound mindset, Hearn believes Joshua is unbeatable and predicts a massive 2024 for him.
Hearn’s New Plan and the Future of Heavyweight Boxing
Eddie Hearn has already devised a new plan for Joshua’s future. With Fury and Usyk set to meet in a world heavyweight title unification bout, Hearn is banking on the IBF stripping the new champion of its belt if he does not agree to an immediate match with mandatory contender Filip Hrgovic. Hearn envisions Joshua fighting Hrgovic for the vacant IBF title, aiming to make Joshua a three-time heavyweight world champion. However, this imagined fight lacks the excitement and resonance that the Joshua-Wilder showdown promised.
Conclusion: The unpredictability of heavyweight boxing has once again thwarted the long-awaited showdown between Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. While Wilder’s defeat to Joseph Parker has cast doubt on his legacy, Joshua’s redemption against Otto Wallin has reignited hopes of his dominance in the division. With new plans being formulated and the future of heavyweight boxing uncertain, fans can only wonder if Joshua and Wilder will ever step into the ring together. In the ever-changing landscape of the sport, one thing remains clear: boxing’s ruined dreams and missed opportunities continue to captivate and frustrate both fans and fighters alike.