Anthony Joshua’s ability to take a punch has disappeared, according to fighter-turned-promoter, Barry McGuigan.
Joshua has been the subject of much speculation and analysis since his first professional loss against Andy Ruiz Jr, with many in the sport believing the defeat to have turned him gun-shy.
Following two more losses against Oleksandr Usyk, the Brit is out of the title picture and in build back more. That began with a unanimous decision victory over Jermaine Franklin.
Speaking on the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast, McGuigan said Joshua’s time at the top was over.
“I just don’t think he’ll ever beat the top guys, he’s too easily hit and he’s too easily hurt these days. Tyson Fury has been dropped many times and he can cope with being dropped. Filip Hrgović would be a disaster for Joshua, and even Zhilei Zhang would be a really tough fight for him.
I really like Anthony Joshua and I don’t really know him personally, but his ability to take a shot has disappeared. He’s not willing to run into the lion’s den and get shots fired at him, shots that miss him by whiskers that could knock him unconscious.”
The Hall of Famer believes ‘AJ’ has confidence issues, and said that issues of that nature only get worse as careers progress.
“I think the ship has sailed with Anthony Joshua. I don’t think he’s got that final extra bit that makes the difference between good and great.
I think he has no confidence in his ability to take a shot, and when that happens in the heavyweight division, it’s over. He can fool himself as much as he wants, but Jermaine Franklin wasn’t a big puncher. I’d hoped that he’d stop him and then show the courage to hit, hurt, and take him out, but he never showed that.
He has that nervousness about him that doesn’t go away. When you get older it doesn’t go away, it only gets worse.
He’s been great for boxing. He’s a lovely guy, he can do great commentary and loads of stuff outside boxing.”
Joshua will return on August 12 for a rematch with Dillian Whyte – a win setting him up for a transatlantic clash with Deontay Wilder and the perfect opportunity to prove that his punch resistance isn’t lacking.