Top Rank promoter Bob Arum can’t wrap his head around the idea that Anthony Joshua is an elite heavyweight at this point in his career. Arum’s view of Joshua is clouded by the unerasable image of him getting knocked out by the pudgy 269-lb Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight in June 2019.
Ruiz Jr was one of Arum’s stable fighters in the past, and he was never viewed as a power-puncher. While Joshua did avenge his loss to Ruiz, he did it in a Klitschko-esque style, which involved running and holding.
Overall, Joshua looked timid and afraid the entire fight in winning a boring 12 round unanimous decision against Ruiz.
Like many, Arum sees Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) as an utterly flawed heavyweight and nowhere near the benchmark of a fighter that you could characterize as one of the ELITE champions.
The wise promoter Arum isn’t saying it, but Joshua is like eras version of Wladimir Klitschko, a fighter that always brought drama to his fights due to his combination of talent, weak chin, and poor stamina.
You never knew what you would get when watching Wladimir fight, which is what made him somewhat entertaining to watch.
Unfortunately, Wladimir’s fighting style became painfully boring to watch towards the second half of his career when the late Emanuel Steward took over as his trainer.
Steward rejuvenated Wladimir’s career by turning him into a clincher, mover, and jabber.
Arum: Joshua NOT an elite heavyweight
“I’m not thrilled with Joshua,” said Bob Arum to Gareth Davies. “I don’t think much of Joshua because every time the name Joshua is mentioned, I see him laying on the canvas after getting hit by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz.
“I’m telling you the truth. I may be underestimating Joshua, but I’m not convinced that Joshua is an elite heavyweight,” Arum said.
There’s a lot of truths in what the legendary promoter Arum has to say about Joshua. He’s clearly NOT an elite heavyweight, and he never will be. At this point in Joshua’s career, this is as good as it gets with him. He’s no longer improving.
The only improvements that we’ve seen from him are his adoption of the Klitschko style of fighting, and that’s a style that his next opponent Oleksandr Usyk will likely pick apart easily on September 25th.
Joshua would need to be a solid fighter like Mike Tyson, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis, and Joe Louis to be an elite heavyweight. Those were elite heavyweights who could take a punch and had excellent stamina.
As I said, Joshua is this era’s version of Wladimir Klitschko, but not quite as technically skilled as he was. Wladimir had mad technical ability, power, and hand speed, but his chin and stamina were weak points.
In the U.S, Joshua means NOTHING – says Arum
“This is no disrespect to him; Anthony Joshua means next to nothing in the United States with the boxing community,” said Arum.
“All they remember of Anthony Joshua is his one fight in the United States where he got knocked out by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz. That view of Anthony Joshua will not change easily,” said Arum in speaking cold facts about Joshua and the perception U.S fans have about him.
Unfortunately, Joshua isn’t a big name in the United States at the moment, and he’s likely going to be able to change any of that. He failed miserably when he fought Ruiz Jr in New York in June 2019, and ever since then, he’s not been back.
Say what you want about Fury being a flawed heavyweight; at least he’s got a name in the U.S and is popular because he chooses to fight there. Fury has endeared himself to the Americans with his sense of humor and self-effacing personality. The Americans have adopted Fury as one of their own, but they haven’t done that with Joshua.