Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has a left knee injury that will prevent him from training for four weeks. Joshua, 29, felt a twinge in his knee while running, and he’s going to need to rest for a month before he continues to train for his November title defense against IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev.
There are no x-rays given by Joshua, and already a lot of boxing fans are crying that he’s ducking the 39-year-old Pulev. Joshua might as well just give up the IBF belt and steam a course towards the unification fight with WBC strap holder Tyson Fury.
AJ will still have the WBA and WBO belt after he gives up the IBF belt, and no one will take notice that he’s vacated the belt.
Joshua taking risks not wearing a mask
Using crutches to support himself, Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) was without a mask on Saturday while attending a ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally in Watford. He read a poem to the large crowd. What would be sad is if Joshua is trying to recover from a knee problem while sick from a potential virus that he catches while going mask-less at rallies.
This risk-taking behavior by Joshua in not wearing a mask leaves open the question of whether he’ll make it to the Pulev fight in November without going down with the virus, which results in the match getting pushed into 2021. Does Joshua not care enough about the fight with the 39-year-old IBF mandatory Pulev for him to be careful?
Why is Joshua in crowds risking his health when he’s supposed to be training for his title defense against Pulev? Doesn’t he care about his health?
“Anthony felt a slight twinge in his knee whilst training,” said Joshua’s spokesman to the Dailymail. “The brace is a precautionary measure on the advice of physios. It will be further checked by his doctors but there is no immediate concern.”
Knee problems can be tricky, and just never know how long they’ll last. If Joshua needs to have his left knee scoped, he could be out of training for a lot longer than four weeks.
What happens if Joshua needs a lot longer than four weeks for his problem knee to recover? Will the International Boxing Federation give Joshua the time, or will they strip him of his title and let #1 Pulev fight for the strap against #2 IBF rated Charles Martin?
Fury can take advantage of Joshua’s knee problems
Tyson Fury has got to be licking his chops now at hearing the news of Joshua’s knee injury because he’s going to be looking to take his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight straps from him in 2021.
Besides Pulev, another potential loser for Joshua’s knee problem is his WBO mandatory Oleksandr Usyk. He’s waiting for his mandated title shot at well, and it’s already bad that he’s probably not going to get that fight in 2020 or 2021.
If Joshua starts coming down with knee injuries left and right, the 33-year-old Usyk could hit his mid-30s before he gets his crack at the belt. Usyk isn’t going to give up waiting for his title shot, but what happens if he loses to someone along the way? All that wasted time and no title shot for Usyk. In that case, Usyk might as well have stayed at cruiserweight and defended his four world titles against all comers.
The IBF and WBO should just let the mandatory challengers for those belts fight for the titles while Joshua licks his wounds for his knee problem. It would be better that AJ not sit on the titles and held them hostage, while Pulev and Usyk grow old waiting for their title shots.