Wilder or Joshua - Who Will Carry Boxing's Heavyweight Division?


By Andreas Hale

From Jack Johnson to Joe Louis to Rocky Marciano to Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson, boxing’s popularity has always been tied to the happenings in the heavyweight division. Of course, there are outliers that include Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, but the mainstream appeal of the sport has much to do with the health of the heavyweight division.

And for the past few decades, heavyweight boxing in America has been as unhealthy eating three Big Macs with a large fries and super sized Coke.

With boxing seeking its next big superstar now that Floyd Mayweather is retired (we think), the attention comes to the heavyweight division. And what better time than now? Wladimir Klitschko’s reign of dominance has come to a halt and the field is wide open for the next big superstar to emerge. At this particular point in time, there are a pair of frontrunners who could become the face of heavyweight boxing: Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.

The former defends his WBC heavyweight title against fellow unbeaten fighter Luis Ortiz while the latter is in for a fight later this month when he squares off with Joseph Parker in defense of his IBF and WBA titles. As long as both come out victorious, it seems to be inevitable that these two trains will collide at some point for heavyweight supremacy.

But who has the bigger star potential?

Anthony Joshua put the world on notice with his gutsy 11th round TKO of Wladimir Klitschko last April. It was an excellent fight that epitomized what heavyweight boxing should be. Up to that point, it was a challenge for Americans to see Joshua on TV considering that the Brit has fought exclusively overseas. But once they caught a glimpse, there was immediate curiosity why Joshua wasn’t already a star.

Well, he already is…overseas.

Heading into his fight with Parker, over 70,000 tickets have already been sold at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. That’s a massive number of tickets and you won’t find an arena aside from AT&T Stadium in Dallas that can house that many people for a boxing match. Europe is already quite familiar with Joshua considering that he brought England a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic games at super heavyweight. Since making his pro debut in 2013, Joshua has been a wrecking machine that has yet to see a fight go to the judges’ scorecards.


Sooner or later, he’ll have to make his presence felt in the states. But he’s certainly not in a rush to do so. But the marketability is there. Open up social media and look at the comments that women leave for the musclebound Joshua. There’s a certain level of appeal there that extends beyond the boxing community. To be honest, all you have to do is put him in a Rihanna or Beyonce video and his stock in the states will soar. He’s not a difficult sell with a crowd pleasing style and the looks of a model. The only problem is that he has yet to fight in the United States. More than likely, a fight with Deontay Wilder will be when Joshua makes his stateside debut. But, until then, we’ll have to settle for watching Joshua fight in the middle of the day.

Wilder may not be an Olympic gold medalist (he took home the bronze at the 2008 Olympics) nor may he be the model type, but “The Bronze Bomber” is one impressive specimen inside of that boxing ring. It took him a while to start gaining recognition, but stopping your first 32 opponents will get heads turning. The only person who managed to survive going the distance with Wilder (Bermaine Stiverne) met his demise in a brutal rematch last November when the 32-year-old decimated him inside of a round.

The American public has had a good look at Wilder as the 6’7” giant has had a great deal of television time in prime spots. His first fight with Stiverne cemented that Wilder was a budding star as the bout averaged 1.24 million viewers on Showtime.

Perhaps the best part about Wilder — aside from his ability to knock everyone out — is that he can sell a fight with his mouth. It’s one thing to be a great fighter, but it’s a totally different world once you learn how to sell the fight. Ask Floyd Mayweather about the importance of marketability. But Wilder doesn’t have to resort to underhanded shenanigans or showing off his earnings. He’s just really good a trash talking and an engaging individual overall.

Wilder may also have the upper hand in a popularity contest with Joshua as the product from Tuscaloosa has been very vocal about chasing down Joshua until the Brit has nowhere to go. Fans always like the guy who is openly challenging an opponent.

Both fighters are fully capable of carrying the heavyweight division into the new frontier. It’s really a matter of taste (and location). Wilder is fully equipped to shoulder the load as boxing’s biggest star. He lives in the U.S. and has already established a strong base. As for Joshua, he will eventually need to fight stateside, but he has all of the tools to be a massive mainstream star.

Either way you look at it, the heavyweight division is in the best pair of hands that it can possibly be in. The timing is right and the stars are nearly aligned. All they have to do is keep winning.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by kimboslice7 on 03-12-2018

People can say all they want about wilder.he might be the things folks say he is.but 2 be honest if wilder wasn't apart of heavyweight boxing the heavyweight division want be getting all this attention right now.thats just facts.hate it…

Comment by Dr.Cool on 03-04-2018

[QUOTE=yoshik;18536293]Wilder is a B fighter. You will see tonight. Zero skills.[/QUOTE] What was that???

Comment by Sickmerch1990 on 03-03-2018

Wilder is a bum ortiz was a bum noway wilder got anychance v povektein or haye fury or joshua

Comment by yoshik on 03-03-2018

[QUOTE=Dr.Cool;18534049]That is the whole point. Everyone knows at heavyweight there is AJ and Wilder and then everyone else. Honestly, AJ and Wilder are A fighters and the next best is a C level fighter like Parker. AJ needs to man…

Comment by yoshik on 03-03-2018

This article was paid to advertise for Wilder. Again, his fans mistake a KO and a big mouth for championship material. I hope he is prepared to be embarrassed.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (36)
Top Headlines Arum Very Interested in Bringing Canelo and Golovkin To ESPN Danny Gonzalez Edges Johnny Hernandez in Tough Fight Hearn: We Want Wilder Now, It's Biggest Fight in World Boxing Firat Arslan, Emre Cukur, Tarik Sozer Victorius in Istanbul Fury Not Impressed With Joshua Win: Biggest Bum I Ever Saw Photos: Tony Bellew, Oleksandr Usyk - Face To Face at Wembley Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin - CompuBox Punch Stats Joshua's Promoter: We'll Try For The Deontay Wilder Fight Again Anthony Joshua Drops, Stops Alexander Povetkin in Seventh Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Jonathan Taconing Dominates Vince Paras, Retains in Manila Luke Campbell Gets Revenge, Decisions Yvan Mendy Joshua vs. Povetkin: CompuBox Historical Review Luke Campbell vs. Yvan Mendy - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lawrence Okolie Decisions Matty Askin in Very Ugly Fight Joshua Wants To Emulate Ronaldo and Pacquiao's Longevity Lawrence Okolie vs. Matty Askin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin: Stats & Stakes Sergey Kuzmin Stops a Tired David Price in Four Rounds David Price vs. Sergey Kuzmin - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Shakhram Giyasov Stops Laguna in Five Rounds Promoter: Joshua Knows What He Faces In Underestimated Povetkin Michael Dutchover Takes Out Berman Aguilar in Five Rounds Siesta: Upset on Joshua-Povetkin could change the boxing world Okolie Hopes To Move on To Next Level on Joshua Undercard Wilder vs. Fury, Joshua vs. Povetkin - CompuBox Final 4 Analysis Frank Warren Breaks Down Anthony Joshua-Alexander Povetkin Takam: If Povetkin Starts Slow, He'll Get Slaughtered By Joshua Ryan Garcia: Canelo Beats Golovkin Even Easier in Third Fight Daily Bread Mailbag: Canelo-GGG, Mayweather, Munguia, More Luke Campbell Very Confident as He Enters Mendy Rematch Bellew: Povetkin Should Be Banned, Not Getting Joshua Shot Wilder, Fury Promises Explosive Drama When They Collide Ivan Baranchyk vs. Anthony Yigit Added To Prograis-Flanagan Jermell Charlo Raises Hand To Face Floyd Mayweather in Return Jon Fernandez: We Just Had a Bad Game Plan For This Fight Canelo-GGG, Mayweather-Pacquiao - A Gem & a Pending Sham Foster Out-Boxes, Upsets Jon Fernandez in ShoBox Main Event Irvin Gonzalez Busier, Easily Beats Carlos Ramos Canelo Vows Quick Return: I Want To Fight in December

Latest Active Forum Threads