Young fighters, perk up.
Heck, anyone out there, perk up, and listen to the wisdom coming from Anthony Joshua, who conveys to the masses what he learned from one of his most difficult in-ring hurdles.
This week, AJ, who fights Saturday on DAZN in the big room at Madison Square Garden, sat down and chatted with fellow pugilist Carl Frampton, the Irishman who does a podcast for an entity called “Joe.”
Props to Frampton (age 32; 26-2 featherweight), for posing a solid query: “I’ve been on the deck before as a fighter, and I feel I learned a lot in that fight. You were on the deck versus Wladimir Klitschko, what have you learned from that fight and that experience?” he asked.
AJ took a deep breath and it looked like he was not ready for such a substantive question right out of the starting block.
“What did I learn from that? Right? You know when it’s a slugfest, not a technical fight — it’s weird, it was just a slugfest, so, one of those ones where I had to go down to get up, to fight back,” said Joshua (22-0, 21 KO).
“But what I learned is that I was too top heavy as a heavyweight, I was doing a lot of weights, so I couldn’t carry my body properly. And learned how to pace myself throughout the rounds. And also, lastly, I said to my coach, look, if I have another one of these fights, then I’m done with boxing. I said I should be good enough that I don’t have to go through, like, hell and back to win a fight. The fight, it should be a good competition, but I shouldn’t go through one of those fights to win.”
Great insights from the big, not as big as before, Brit.
Since that 2017 win over Wlad, in which he hit the deck in round six, AJ beat Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, and Alexander Povetkin. None sent him to the mat. He was 254 for Takam, then leaner, at 242 and 245 1/4 for the next two. He paced himself smartly, and fought smarter, not harder.
That meant he wasn’t so “fan friendly,” inclined to trade and engage in a reckless shootout at times. Guess what? Those tweaks to the game maybe make him more of a favorite to beat Deontay Wilder if and when those two square off — even though the masses probably give Wilder more of a chance to beat AJ now than they did two years ago, because flashy KOs mesmerize people.
Guys, talk to me. Did you see the progression, the improvement in the 29-year-old Joshua after that outing versus Klitschko, in which he struggled to swim while wearing a lead life preserver?