Deontay Wilder apparently believes Anthony Joshua was not in the right mindset during his highly anticipated heavyweight title rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
The hard hitting, former heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, recently offered his thoughts on last Saturday’s fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, between Ukraine’s Usyk, the WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight champion, and London’s Joshua, which Usyk won by split decision to retain the belts he won from Joshua the previous September in London.
Wilder, who is scheduled to return to the ring against Robert Helenius on Oct. 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, thought he saw a doubt-ridden Joshua in the ring on Saturday. The “Bronze Bomber” also seemed to suggest that Joshua has been spoon-fed throughout his career and was thus not ready to “bite down” when the going got tough during the Usyk bout.
“With Joshua you can tell he wasn’t himself,” Wilder told ESNews. “He wasn’t his usual self, being motivated, or feeling fully secured within himself. You can just easily tell … you just had that feeling. It boils down to that. We all know that Joshua has stamina problems and different things like that. We always feel he’s too big for certain things that he do, like oxygen in his muscles and stuff like that.
“Like I’ve always said, they’ve given him everything. When you give a man everything and then it’s time to really bite down on the wire. How far can you go?”
Wilder and Joshua were involved in talks in 2018 but they ultimately went nowhere. Wilder is backed by Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions; Joshua is backed by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
Wilder (42-2-1, 41 KOs) will break a year-long layoff from the ring when he takes on Finland’s Helenius (31-3, 20 KOs) in October in the main event of a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card. Wilder briefly contemplated retiring from the sport after his second consecutive knockout loss to WBC titleholder Tyson Fury last October at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.