Deontay Wilder has suggested that Anthony Joshua has ‘lost his identity’, but the Brit refuses to take such a criticism lying down.
The two former champions have been on a long and meandering collision course for some time now, but their next fights – Joshua against Otto Wallin and Wilder against Joseph Parker – on the same card could just be the final hurdle.
Although frustrating that the rivals occupied the same stage at the launch press conference but won’t be fighting each other, fans got a glimpse into how they interacted.
Whilst Wilder was all respect during the proceedings, Joshua addressed previous comments about a ‘loss of identity’ from the American after the presser, also casting up Wallin saying he was ‘past his peak.’
“Who the f*** is [Wilder]? He’s a boxer, not a psychologist. Otto says I’ve peaked, Wilder says I’ve lost my identity… Wallin has never seen a peak, so who is he to say what a peak is?”
The two-time heavyweight champion of the world then criticised Wilder’s resume – referencing a long-running debate amongst fans as to which top heavyweight has the most impressive.
“Wilder… I’ve stood 10 toes on what I represent, I’ve been a two-time champion of the world, defended it, fought X amount of world champions.
The boy has had 50 fights and he probably fought Jason Gavern in his 30-something fight, I probably fought him in my 12th or whatever.
“I never had a year out, never had too much time off, I stood up to every opportunity, I fought back-to-back world champions, defended my titles. I’m a different breed. Who am I to compare myself to others? I am a different breed.
“If they’re looking for weaknesses and gaps, then they need to stop looking over here because I’m solid. I don’t know what he’s talking about if I’m honest.”
‘AJ’ presented a frustrated figure on stage, warning Wallin not to shake his hand post-fight due to his comments. Fans will see on December 23 whether or not that energy transfers into a stoppage win.