Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum has said he doubts the credentials of WBA Super, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Arum, who promotes rival WBC title holder Tyson Fury, has also claimed Joshua’s name means nothing in America following his shock seven-round loss to Andy Ruiz in New York in June 2019, subsequently avenged on points.
Joshua and Fury were, of course, supposed to unify the heavyweight crowns this month in Saudi Arabia before an arbitrator ruled the ‘Gypsy King’ must face Deontay Wilder in a previously contracted trilogy fight instead.
Now Joshua will face Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25 with Fury meeting Wilder two weeks later at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on October 9. Victories for both men should, in theory, tee up that delayed unification clash in 2022, but Arum maintains he is unconvinced by Joshua following his four-knockdown loss to Ruiz two years ago.
“I’m not thrilled with Joshua. I don’t think much of Joshua because, every time the name Joshua is mentioned, I see him laying on the canvas after getting hit by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz. I’m telling you the truth. I may be underestimating Joshua, but I’m not convinced that Joshua is an elite heavyweight,” Arum told journalist Gareth A. Davies.
“This is no disrespect to him, Anthony Joshua means next to nothing in the United States with the boxing community. All they remember of Anthony Joshua is his one fight in the United States where he got knocked out by a non-puncher like Andy Ruiz – that view of Anthony Joshua will not change easily.
“So, if Anthony Joshua fought Tyson Fury in the United States, it wouldn’t do nearly as well as Tyson Fury’s upcoming fight with Deontay Wilder. He’s not a personality, he doesn’t come through to the US public. It may very well be different the way he connects with the UK public, but he doesn’t connect with the American public. They don’t know who he is or what he stands for – they know nothing about him.”