For a couple of years now, the most glamorous division in boxing has experienced a resurgence.
It’s no longer the “heavy-wait” division, where fans are left waiting for some excitement to happen, and is actually lorded over by a couple of leviathans who can really fight.
Standing at 6’6” and weighing 240 lbs, Anthony Joshua is a mountain of a man with one-punch knockout power and his record of 24-1, (22 KOs) is quite emblematic of his capacities.
His present rival is an even bigger man—Tyson Fury, who is listed at 6’9” and comes in to fights at anywhere between 240 to 290 lbs depending on the type of shape he is in.
These two British subjects have been on a collision course for the past two years. There have been detours and sidetracks—like when Joshua was knocked out by Andy Ruiz (he exacted revenge in the rematch) and when Fury for his part had to deal with the spirited challenge of Deontay Wilder, another giant in his own right.
Fury took care of his end of the bargain in February of this year, bludgeoning Wilder in seven rounds, and last Sunday, Dec. 13, Joshua did his part when he stopped Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds.
THE FIGHT. Pulev is no midget at 6’4”, but standing in front of Joshua exchanging jabs in the first round, you can already see the size difference along with the disparity in musculature.
The first two rounds are uneventful with both men exchanging jabs and occasional right hands.
But in the third round, Joshua suddenly exploded, smashing several right hands in succession. Pulev turned his back after such a devastating assault, causing a knockdown to be credited against him. A few minutes later, Pulev is knocked down again with 18 seconds left in the round.
Joshua takes over the fight with his more accurate sniping. Pulev for his part lands a couple of shots here and there, but nothing substantial to deter Joshua’s attacks.
In Round 7, Joshua lands a succession of uppercuts that takes Pulev’s legs out. He is lucky to survive the round.
Pulev showed some life in Round 8 as he became more aggressive, but the events that transpired in the following round would show that this would be his last hurrah.
In Round 9, Joshua starts teeing off with uppercuts and with 30 seconds left, Pulev is down again. A few seconds later a jab-right hand combo turns out to be the coup de grace as Pulev (28-2, 14 KOs) is unable or unwilling to get back up.
SHOWDOWN. Joshua holds the World Boxing Association, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Organization belts while Fury is the WBC champion. The showdown between these two is inevitable.
Joshua looks to have recovered from his Andy Ruiz debacle and is punching with rhythm and power again—two things he will need to defeat Fury.
Fury is undoubtedly the better boxer, but as long as Joshua fights the way he did against Pulev, I give him the edge because of the power advantage.
He looked sharp and accurate and blended aggression and poise quite well. The difference here will be punching power. Because Joshua’s punches have more torque, he will be able to hurt Fury during exchanges. Fury can fight smart and outbox Joshua which will lead to a boring fight, but that’s pretty much how I see these two match up.
LAST ROUND. It’s on ALA Gym’s chaplain, Jack Hall, who still fights a good fight at 93 years of age. Cheers!