By Keith Idec
When Anthony Joshua got off the canvas and stopped Wladimir Klitschko on April 29, it didn’t just make him boxing’s best active heavyweight.
That performance provided the most memorable moments of Joshua’s career, an unforgettable battle boxing fans will remember fondly for many years. It was the type of career-defining fight Deontay Wilder lacks, according to England’s Joshua.
The undefeated IBF/IBO/WBA heavyweight champion explained during a conference call Friday that the reason Wilder has been so forcefully pursuing their title unification fight is because the demonstrative American understands he needs signature victories on his resume.
“In a career, it’s all good going undefeated and looking good,” Joshua said. “But when it’s all said and done, how are people gonna remember you? He hasn’t had any memorable fights. There’s nothing I can tell you and say, ‘Oh, do you remember Deontay Wilder’s 29th fight? That was an unbelievable heavyweight fight!’ Do you know what I mean?
“So he needs a real remarkable fight to really stamp his name in the history of heavyweight boxing. That’s why I say he needs it a little bit more [than me] right now. And especially being in America, especially, this is the Mecca of boxing. I even need it. I need Wilder to have this remarkable fight. I need to be the one to kind of step up and make this dream reality. This is where I’m coming from. I would be honored to travel to America to compete with Wilder.”
Joshua reiterated Friday that he’ll fight Wilder at some point in 2018, assuming both boxers continue winning.
The 28-year-old Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his IBF championship against Cameroon’s Carlos Takam (35-3-1, 27 KOs) on October 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs), who will turn 32 on Sunday, is scheduled to make a mandatory defense of his WBC title in a rematch with former champion Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs) on November 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Wilder has repeatedly stated he wants to face Joshua after beating Stiverne again. Joshua understands why Wilder has been so aggressive about pushing their showdown.
“All it is with Wilder, I just look at it like this – and these are just conversations that I have with my pals and stuff,” Joshua said. “That guy’s been a professional since 2009. I started boxing in 2008. He’s been professional a year [less] than I’ve been boxing my whole career. So where I’m coming from is that he needs these fights. He wants to kind of – he’s had 38 fights. He’s already on the verge of competing with Floyd Mayweather’s record. Do you know where I’m coming from? He needs these fights. It’s a different ball game.
“The only thing that gives me credibility is the fact that I’ve gone and unified the division [against Klitschko]. This is good. And this is why I say that he doesn’t need to have a remarkable performance or fight a household name or whatnot to make this fight happen, because he’s been doing his thing for so long. But I think the reason why he’s more desperate is because the boxing fans are calling out, ‘Wilder, what are you doing? You haven’t fought X and X and X and X. So who’s the next person on the list?’ 50 Cent says it best – attach your name to the best brand in business and people will listen. So he’s just calling me out because he knows I’m the hot cake in the business right now. He’s just doing what any businessman would do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.