Heavyweight Boxing Fallout – This 54th edition of the TalknShoot Boxing Podcast focuses on the heavyweight division and where things stand as we enter the home stretch for 2017.
We look back at October 28th and WBA and IBF world champion Anthony Joshua’s latest title defense against France’s Carlos Takam. There is no doubt that on the business end, Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn cleaned up. The fight took place in Manchester’s massive Principality Stadium and that gives Joshua two straight sellouts of two different soccer stadiums in England this year. The fight aired on Showtime in the USA and on the SKY Box Office PPV service in the UK. More important than anything, Joshua notched the victory which sets up the next big pay day. Can you say ‘star’?
The in-ring report card is a little more lackluster for Joshua. The win is all important and, for a young fighter with 55 career professional rounds boxed prior, Joshua will probably look back at the 10 rounds as educational. But the stoppage came at the hands of the referee, with Takam still very lucid and in the fight. Joshua’s power never really truly manifested itself against the defensive-minded Takam and at times he seemed sluggish. Many looked at Joshua’s weight of 254 pounds, an all-time high, as a bad sign as well.
Takam raised his stock. The Frenchman stepped in on late notice for injured Kubrat Pulev and he entered the bout with very low expectations. He fought through cuts and blood and though he was unlikely to win, he was trying to fight and that is more than can be said for some heavyweights these days.
Then, the following week, WBC world champion Deontay Wilder fought in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and he delivered a first-round knockout of rival Bermane Stiverne. Wilder moves to 39-0 and he gets a stoppage win over the only man who had ever taken him the distance, so on paper all is well with Wilder.
You have to ask yourself did the fight actually help raise Wilder’s stock? Stiverne appeared to be motivated and he appeared to be saying the right things during the build-up. Then by the time Stiverne began his ring entrance on Saturday night, his body language was completely different. He looked like he didn’t want to be there. Stiverne went down the first time and he got up looking a slight bit embarrassed. That embarrassment did not turn into any punches thrown as Stiverne covered up and Wilder threw bombs. Perhaps the lone saving grace for Stiverne was that he had the decency to provide a photo finish, lying prone on the ropes for the cameras as the referee tried to corral the free swinging Wilder. It made for high drama, but did it put Wilder in a position to challenge Joshua as an equal?
Joshua and Wilder fought a week apart, meaning their schedules are coming into alignment. The pair seem destined to meet and 2018 seems like the year. The fine points of the contract and finalizing the deal are still ahead and how much of the pie Wilder will get may be a tougher fight than anything we see in the ring.
Check out more heavyweight boxing talk here at the TalknShoot Boxing Podcast.
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