Wilder v Joshua: Boxing’s Biggest Mega Fight?
With Tyson Fury set to fight Oleksandr Usyk in the spring of next year, and also set to fight Joe Joyce at some point in 2023 as well, next year seems set for many of boxing’s biggest matchups in recent history to take place.
One fight in particular which for some fans may be bigger than the undisputed clash between Fury and Usyk, is a fight between former heavyweight champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
Wilder beat heavyweight contender Robert Helenius back in October, with a spectacular win coming way of knockout in the first round. This was Wilder’s first non-title fight since 2014, after becoming the WBC champion in January 2015. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ went on to have 10 successful defences of his crown, equalling Muhammad Ali’s record, only to lose it in a highly anticipated rematch with Tyson Fury in February 2020, which saw the American powerhouse land the first loss of his career. Wilder and Fury went on to have a third fight in October 2021, which saw Wilder as the challenger for the first time since he won the belt back in 2015, only for him to be knocked out in the 11th round, in a bout labelled as an all-time great.
Joshua became the unified heavyweight champion in 2018, holding the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts after knocking out former champion Joseph Parker and steadily building up his collection of belts with victories over Charles Martin, Dominic Breazeale, Eric Molina (the last two having previously fallen victim to Wilder’s right hand), Wladimir Klitschko and Carlos Takam.
Joshua went on to lose all these belts in September 2021, losing to Ukrainian Olympic Gold medalist Oleksandr Uysk, by unanimous decision. The pair had a rematch in Jeddah in August 2022, which saw the Ukrainian victorious once again, after being allowed special permission by the Ukrainian government to train for this fight, after being called up by the army due to the Russian invasion. By the end of the fight, Joshua only remained upright by holding and leaning on Usyk.
With Fury and Uysk now holding all of the belts, a fight between the former champs would see who holds the bragging rights as the third-best heavyweight in the world.
The latest WBC convention ordered Wilder to face Andy Ruiz Jr, the winner to be the mandatory opponent for the WBC crown. Andy Ruiz became the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history, after knocking out Joshua in 2019 at Madison Square Garden, New York, losing then in the rematch with AJ just six months later.
Deontay has insisted however that he wants the Joshua matchup first. The ‘Bronze Bomber’ has been trying to secure a fight deal with ‘AJ’ ever since the pair became champions, with offers petering out to nothing. It was due to failed negotiations between the two in 2018, that saw Wilder take on Tyson Fury in December of that year, which saw the fight end in a controversial draw, leading to one of the greatest trilogies the sport has ever seen.
But, who’s the favourite coming into this fight? Deontay Wilder boasts a spectacular record of 43 wins, with 2 losses and 1 draw, with 42 of those wins coming by way of knockout. Joshua also holds an impressive record, with 24 wins (22 coming by way of knockout), with 3 losses.
For most fans, Deontay Wilder is seen as the victor for this clash of the titans. Back in 2015, when Wilder had just become champion and AJ was still on his rise to glory, boxing pundits Johnny Nelson, Paul Smith, Glenn McCrory, Jim Watt and Jamie Moore all picked Wilder as victorious in this matchup, saying that his experience and raw power would be too much for the Brit to handle. Even now, with all the experiences under both their belts, most fans are leaning towards the American knocking out AJ.
But who do you think would win in this clash of the giants? Do you think this mega-fight will ever take place? How do you think the fight ends? Only time will tell as to whether we’ll ever see this epic clash before both hang up the gloves, but all fans are raring and waiting to see two of the sports best of this generation have it out with one another.