ANTHONY JOSHUA: 2 Top Fighters Question His Future, Draw His Ire

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Following Anthony Joshua’s points win over America’s Jermaine Franklin on Saturday, Jamaican-born British fighter Dillian Whyte has said that the Nigerian-born British boxer is showing “signs of a fighter who doesn’t want to do it anymore”. 

Joshua, 33, had taken a unanimous decision at the O2 Arena, London, United Kingdom (UK) in a fight many tipped him to win by stoppage. 

Analysts believe Joshua controlled the majority of the fight but was unable to put his combinations together or find an opening against the durable Franklin. 

On Saturday, two-time world champion Joshua won his first fight in more than two years, having lost consecutive bout to WBA (Super), IBF and WBO world champion Oleksandr Usyk.

The two fighters squared up to each other after the verdict, which saw two judges score the contest 117-111 and one 118-111 to Joshua.

“Joshua has lost all his aggression and killer instincts,” Whyte said.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 live, Whyte added: “If he doesn’t want to do it any more, I think he should stop.” 

Whyte is a British professional boxer who has formerly competed as a kickboxer and mixed martial artist.

He has held the WBC interim heavyweight title twice between 2019 and 2022.

At regional level, he has held multiple heavyweight championships, including the British title from 2016 to 2017.

As of October 2021, he is ranked as the world’s fifth-best active heavyweight by The Ring magazine, and the fourth-best active heavyweight by the Transnational Boxing Ranking Board and BoxRec.

He has been ranked among BoxRec’s top 10 heavyweights since 2016, reaching his career-high ranking of number two at the end of August 2021.

His knockout-to-win percentage stands at 68 per cent.

Whyte is also a former kickboxing champion, having held the BIKMA British super-heavyweight title and the European K1 title, and has competed professionally in mixed martial arts.

Whyte speaks with a heavy dose of authority on the Joshua-Franklin fight, having squared off in the roped ring with Franklin and Joshua, respectively.

Whyte had beaten Franklin in a close points decision in November.

Whyte lost to Joshua in 2016.

Still on the Joshua-Franklin fight, Whyte added: “Every time Franklin shaped up like he was going to hit him, he hesitated. I’ve never seen him like that, he’s a bit shell-shocked.” 

Also speaking, former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch questioned Joshua’s ability to recapture a world title.

“In the ring at world-title level he’s been there, done the business,” Froch said. “Now I don’t know. What motivates him?

“He wants the money. I don’t understand why he’s fighting. I just don’t. It’s a dangerous sport. Money can’t be the motivation when you’ve earned over £100 million.

“I’ve not seen anything in that performance that he wants to be a world champion again.” 

The British former professional boxer competed from 2002 to 2014, and has since worked as a boxing analyst and commentator.

He held multiple super-middleweight world championships, including the WBC title twice between 2008 and 2011, the IBF title from 2012 to 2015, and the WBA (Unified) title from 2013 to 2015.

At regional level, he held the British, and English super-middleweight titles, and won the Lonsdale Belt in 2006.

As an amateur in the middleweight division, Froch won a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships, and the ABA title twice.

Froch was voted Fighter of the Year for 2012 by BoxRec.

In 2013, the United Kingdom (UK) edition of GQ magazine voted him Sportsman of the Year.

He reached a peak pound for pound ranking of sixth by BoxRec and The Ring magazine, and in 2013 was listed by the BBC as the best active British boxer, pound for pound.

BoxRec ranks Froch as the third greatest British fighter of all time, pound for pound.

Froch will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023.

Speaking at the post-fight press conference, Joshua said: “You land one shot, and the fighter is looking like they’re looking to go and then you go rushing in for another shot and they’re not there for the taking.

“If I see a wounded animal, I’m going to go in for the kill. If it was the 13th round of 15, he wouldn’t have survived.

“Mike Tyson went 12 rounds with people like Pinklon Thomas and Tony Tucker, so what’s wrong with me going 12 rounds?” 

Addressing criticism from other fighters, Joshua said: “All these fighters are haters, pure haters. I don’t expect them to like me, I don’t like them either.

“There’s a lot of haters out there. They’re not my friends anyway.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn said that he expects the 2012 Olympic gold medalist to fight again in the summer and then towards the end of the year. 

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