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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Anthony Joshua and third quests for champion This Year?

Though he once held IBF, IBO, WBA as a unified heavyweight champion years ago, Anthony Joshua’s quest to seek only the IBF and win it now will write his name among the greats in the division.

Joshua’s path to this level has been taxing. It came with victories and losses; glory and reproach; love and hate, however it is what has given him the present fame.

After his sudden loss to Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr, Joshua became susceptible and a man every boxer wanted to date but he rose with a different style to reclaim all his belts from Ruiz a few months after.

Though he won against Ruiz, it was evident that Joshua had lost his confidence. He became more cautious, more mature and more tactical afterwards.

After this, Joshua did it against Kubrat Pulev in a cautious manner but met his match against the best in the division at present, Oleksandr Usyk who beat him twice to win and keep the unified title.

Of course it is a painful experience the Briton has to live with as he navigates his way back to the top, beating American Jermaine Franklin, Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin and Francis Ngannou to set a date with a compatriot, Daniel Dubois for an IBF title this coming September 21 in Wembley.

Having regained his confidence, I see Joshua becoming a three-time heavyweight champion in about three months.

The undisputed champion, Usyk has vacated the IBF belt, making Dubois a substantive champion with Joshua a challenger in all British title bout under Riyadh organisers.

I won’t write Dubois out completely against Joshua, going by his performances against American Jarrell Miller and Croatian Filip Hrgovic.

Dubois is one of the heavy punchers in this division and this was visible against Usyk when he landed a body shot that dropped the Ukrainian in the earlier rounds of their match.

Though counted as foul, below the belt, against the Ukrainian, Dubois showed the world how good he was in his fight against Miller where he won on a technical knockout.

He pushed the hefty American so hard, using his heavy jabs and clubbing hooks to subdue the in-boxer.

Against Hrgovic, Dubois showed that he could take punches as he endured the Croatian. He finally caught Hrgovic and broke one of his eyes’ to claim a technical knockout.

Except for his bad footwork and inability to move his head away from punches, Dubois would have been a perfect match for Joshua.

Nevertheless, I see him as a strong contender if he will be coming with the determination he took to Miller.

However he is slower than Joshua, less athletic than Joshua, less experienced than Joshua and less tactical than Joshua.

But then, Joshua must approach the fight with all seriousness not only because it is a title bout that will make him a three-time heavyweight champion but because of the circumstances that surround the fight.

It is the first defence for Dubois who never won the belt but vacated for him by the undisputed Usyk. He will want to do anything to keep his first ever heavyweight belt.

Joshua has been in and out of the camp. He is going back to strategise against a boxer of almost the same power punch like him. His best strategy shouldn’t be pound-for-pound approach but a tactical game in which he would have to set Dubois up for a quick finish.

Joshua can do this and Dubois can fall for the tactic, I can see that.

If it happens, then Joshua will be a three-time heavyweight champion in September, otherwise he may mar his own reputation again.

By Kunle Awosiyan

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