Chris Eubank Sr says Anthony Joshua was on the path to be ‘hurt’ and ’embarrassed’ early in his career, believing the superstar was rushed in his development for financial gain.
Eubank was two-weight world champion, and undefeated in his first ten years as a pro. He hung up the gloves with 45 wins from 52 bouts, cementing his status as a UK fighting legend.
Those early years of his career were crucial in what came later, and he believes it’s something that’s severely lacking from the more money-orientated modern game.
Speaking to Stamina For Sale, Eubank used Anthony Joshua’s campaign as an example.
“To give you an example of a young man who I like – I don’t just like him, I love him – and what’s happened to him is a travesty. At thirteen fights he was put into a heavyweight championship fight. At thirteen fights. Against a person who is like a cardboard cutout.”
Despite getting the timeline wrong – Joshua faced Charles Martin for the world title in his sixteenth outing in 2016, not thirteenth – the sentiment remains the same.
Eubank believes ‘AJ’ was catapulted to the top level too early for him to cope as a fighter.
“So now he’s got the championship of the world at thirteen fights – you haven’t learned your trade. And because you haven’t learned your trade, you’re gonna be embarrassed, and your life is going to be in danger because you don’t know how to protect yourself yet.”
“I remember saying to him. I said Anthony, you’ve got to go to America and get lost in some little dingy place where no one knows you, and learn your trade. And if you don’t, it’s not gonna be nice for you. And this is exactly what’s happened.”
‘AJ’ would go undefeated until a shock loss in his 2019 American debut against late replacement, Andy Ruiz Jr.
It comes down to money, according the the British great, something he feels is damaging the sport way past Joshua’s campaign.
“Now, why was he put in a world championship fight at thirteen fights? Money. You can’t bypass the skill, the craft and the life. And that’s why we are being starved of great fighters.”
Having lost his unified titles to Oleksandr Usyk and failed to win them back in a rematch, Joshua is currently in comeback mode. He is expected to face Dillian Whyte on August 12 before getting in the ring with another former champion – Deontay Wilder.