HAVING played such a big part in the growth of British boxing over the last 10 years, you would think Anthony Joshua was in a position to make decisions about his career without outsiders relentlessly judging him for those choices. If you did think that: hello, welcome to the real world.
Of course that isn’t the case. There were a few tidbits of news about Joshua’s immediate future this week and when they reached social media, they were met with a deluge of criticism from so-called fans.
First of all, Joshua spoke to British GQ – an outlet that does not really cover sports, let alone boxing, a testament to Joshua’s enduring starpower despite recent results in the ring – and was asked which boxer he would want to fight most “if belts didn’t matter.” Besides the fact belts don’t matter much at all given the actions of the various sanctioning bodies, the question is an interesting one.
Joshua’s answer was Dillian Whyte, whom he beat back in 2015. To anyone who has followed his career even fairly closely this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The pair have shared a heated rivalry ever since Whyte beat Joshua back when they were both novice amateurs.
Their 2015 meeting was filled to the brim with bad blood. That may have tempered somewhat over the years but whenever Joshua has been asked about top heavyweights he wants to fight, Whyte is usually one of the names that leaves his lips.
Those complaining about his answer demanded that Joshua should have said Tyson Fury or perhaps Deontay Wilder instead. Yes, both of those fights would be more interesting if not purely for the fact that he hasn’t fought either one of them before. But Joshua was just being honest: he doesn’t like Whyte, knows it would sell well and is a step down from the elite level he’s been operating at for so long.
If you wanted to take a more cynical view, you could theorise that Joshua-Whyte II is already planned for 2023 and that Joshua is merely planting the seeds for it now in order to generate buzz for it.
Then there was the news that Joshua has once again been in the US touring a few different gyms, seemingly to find another new trainer after previously linking up with Robert Garcia. In fact, Garcia himself recently said that Joshua should take his training to the US in order to keep him away from any distractions back home, which isn’t bad advice.
Eddie Hearn also came out and said no decision on Joshua’s next opponent will be made until he has decided who his training team will be. That seems sensible enough, though it hasn’t stopped some people complaining and claiming Joshua to be fairweather. ‘AJ’ is under no obligation to rush back into action before he is confident and comfortable with the team around him.
The Telegraph were able to exclusively reveal that Conor Benn’s legal team has submitted a 270-page document to the WBC in regards to the first of his two failed drug tests this year, which came as part of the sanctioning body’s testing system. Mauricio Sulaiman told the Telegraph’s Gareth A Davies that a committee has been formed within the WBC to address this document and that he does not expect any sort of outcome until at least the end of December.
It was also made clear that this lengthy document only pertains to the WBC investigation into Benn’s failed test, making it separate from the one being made by UKAD and the British Boxing Board of Control.
This news came after Benn released a statement on social media earlier in the week, essentially saying nothing apart from thanking those that have stood by him while also mentioning the word “contamination.”
I’m no legal expert nor am I a scientist, but 270 pages seems excessive. If, as Benn appears to be claiming, he unknowingly ingested contaminated substances, how could that possibly require 270 pages of detail? And why has no such document also been supplied to UKAD and the Board?
After plenty of fans noticed Teofimo Lopez asking his corner “do I still have it?” after his recent win over Sandor Martin, the former lightweight boss decided to take to social media and claim that he was merely acting. He says he knew he was being filmed and wanted to cause some sort of stir. Bit of a weird thing to lie about.
Chris Eubank Jnr, who was scheduled to fight Benn before the failed tests came to light, spoke to IFL about the situation, intimating that the pair could still meet.
“I hope so,” he said when asked if he will fight Benn in the future.
“Now we have our own story. Now we have our own reasoning for wanting to fight. Now it’s not just ‘your fathers fought, so now you guys should fight.’ Now we have our own thing. Now we have our own score to settle.”
It’s not that surprising Eubank Jnr would still want to fight Benn, though it is concerning that there is a narrative being built around the failed tests. Eubank is implying that he now has a reason to personally dislike Benn due to him allegedly trying to cheat. If Benn is exonerated then that storyline disappears.
Doping violations are not a “score to settle” in the ring, they are to be dealt with by the appropriate authorities.
Likewise, Kalle Sauerland told SecondsOut that he has heard nothing about Benn’s case and complained about the lack of transparency. While it’s true that there should be more accountability of how the investigations are going, as the promoter of Eubank Jnr, Sauerland does not have to be kept updated.