By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua hopes to avoid another WWE-like post-fight confrontation following what he expects will be a win against Joseph Parker on March 31.
The British superstar knows Deontay Wilder will be ringside for their heavyweight title unification fight at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Having the unbeaten WBC heavyweight champion in attendance makes perfect sense, since their showdown is the biggest fight in boxing that has yet to be made.
Joshua just doesn’t want Wilder to climb into the ring and scream at him, the way Wilder did after Luis Ortiz knocked out a journeyman three months ago. That televised, face-to-face meeting set the stage for Wilder and Ortiz rescheduling their fight for March 3, when Wilder overcame severe seventh-round trouble to knock out Ortiz in the 10th round.
Wladmir Klitschko climbed into the ring right after Joshua knocked out Eric Molina in December 2016. That was different, according to Joshua, because a deal for the Joshua-Klitschko fight had already been completed and was officially announced in the ring that night at Manchester Arena.
“Yes, he’s more than welcome,” Joshua told Sky Sports for a story made available on the network’s website Friday. “But the difference is – when Klitschko came over to watch me in Manchester, we had a signed deal. It was signed and sealed, provided I won.
“With Wilder, I’m just not into the hype. If he wants to come over, get in the ring and all that stuff – I just prefer it if he had a fight in place to talk about. Because if not, it’s just hype.”
Fans want Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) to fight next, assuming the heavily favored Joshua beats New Zealand’s Parker (24-0, 18 KOs), the WBO champion, two weeks from Saturday night.
Rumors persist, however, regarding Joshua making his United States debut against Jarrell Miller (21-0-1, 18 KOs) sometime in August at Barclays Center in Miller’s hometown of Brooklyn. Miller also would need to defeat France’s Johann Duhaupas (37-4, 24 KOs) on April 28 at Barclays Center to make that bout possible.
That would leave Wilder to take another fight before attempting to finalize the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native’s much-discussed clash with Joshua, who owns the IBF, IBO and WBA titles.
“No one wants to hear about this percentage, who walks in the ring first,” Joshua said. “They just want to know that we’re going to fight. They don’t care about the business and all that stuff that goes on in the background. That’s why I don’t want to get into the ring and turn it into a hype job. I want to give the fans what they want.
“I have been in touch with their camp since last December, after I fought [Carlos] Takam [on October 28]. And it’s something that we have been working on slowly, and we’ll get there for sure.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.