Top British boxing promoter Frank Warren says that anyone who compares reigning WBA and IBF heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua to the great, the, well, incomparable Muhammad Ali is saying something that is “beyond stupid.”
Most fans, in fact virtually all of them, will agree perfectly with Warren; although, shockingly and sadly there are those people who are trying to tell us that AJ, at just 20-0, is already a great fighter – even deserving of being compared with “The Greatest.” Warren spoke on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show this morning and the promoter explained his feelings on Joshua.
“Let’s get it right. Tyson Fury had to vacate the IBF title. AJ picked up the title by fighting Charles Martin, who is possibly the worst heavyweight champion I have ever seen in boxing,” Warren said. “He did what he had to do against Martin, he won the title. He then fought Wladimir Klitschko and Dillian Whyte. Klitschko was coming out of 18 months of inactivity after being soundly beaten by Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte is a decent young pro but he is not what you consider a world-ranked opponent. Dillian Whyte wobbled him. Klitschko had him on the floor. It was one of the most exciting fights I’ve seen for years, but it wasn’t Muhammad Ali, it wasn’t Joe Frazier, it wasn’t George Foreman, it wasn’t Kenny Norton, it wasn’t Earnie Shavers, all these guys. Joshua has had three title fights and comparing him to Ali? It is beyond stupid.”
Argue with that if you can!
Indeed, Warren – who says AJ has heart comparable to Ali – sums things up perfectly. How good is Joshua? We still don’t know, yet there are some people guilty of being way too quick to attach the great tag on young stars of today. Joshua, a level-headed guy, would likely feel embarrassed at being compared to Ali, one of his heroes (at least he should feel embarrassed).
Who knows, in time AJ may emerge as the best heavyweight of his era; with wins over his rivals Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, Joseph Parker and a handful of top contenders. But until then, no-one should mention Ali and Joshua in the same sentence. As Warren has explained perfectly.