David Haye has pinpointed the fight that brought about the widely scrutinised change in Anthony Joshua’s approach to fighting.
Many observers believe Joshua has become tentative and gun-shy in recent performances, criticism that was amplified following his victory over Jermaine Franklin at the 02 Arena last month.
Speaking to All Out Fighting, Haye believes Joshua’s problems can be traced back to his stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr, all the way back in 2019.
“It’s been a while since he [Joshua] has got busy and let his hands go. You’ve probably got to go back to the first fight with Andy Ruiz, since then he hasn’t been putting his shots together.”
“24 rounds with Usyk he didn’t, 12 rounds with Ruiz in the rematch he didn’t and 12 rounds with Franklin he didn’t. It’s been a long time since he actually let his hands go. So he needs to go in there, do it and beat somebody.”
“That will give him the true confidence to go in there with Wilder.”
It remains unclear whether or not Joshua will have another fight over the summer, or sit out and jump straight in with Wilder in December.
Skills Challenge in Saudi Arabia, who plan to stage Joshua vs Wilder on the same night as Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk, are believed to prefer that all four fighters do not have any interim fights.
‘AJ’ is no stranger to boxing in Saudi, with the country playing host to his rematch against Ruiz in 2019 as well as his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last summer.
If the event does go ahead and features all four of the major heavyweights, the purses on offer would undoubtedly be amongst the richest the sport has ever seen.