Tony Bellew has weighed in on a pivotal moment in Anthony Joshua’s career.
The Olympic Gold Medalist turned pro in 2013 and quickly went about collecting three of the four major heavyweight world titles.
As a bonafide British superstar, Joshua’s team looked to announce him formally on the American stage with a fight at Madison Square Garden of June in 2019.
The man in the opposite corner was to be Jarrell Miller, who sold the fight well with some slick trash talk and press conference antics that appeared to get under the skin of the champion.
Miller then tested positive for various performance enhancing drugs. Andy Ruiz Jr stepped in and shocked the world with a stoppage win.
Joshua and Miller have recently reignited their feud due to being two parts of the same press conference to announce their next bouts – Otto Wallin for ‘AJ’ and Daniel Dubois for Miller.
Speaking on a DAZN broadcast and recapping the press conference, Barry Jones said that the bad blood between the brash American and Joshua won’t be going away anytime soon and that, in a roundabout way, the American was responsible for ‘AJ’s ‘downfall.’
“It started the downfall of Anthony Joshua, of course, because Andy Ruiz stepped in and the rest is history.”
Bellew agreed wholeheartedly.
“Oh without a doubt, of course.”
Whilst Joshua won his unified world titles straight back in a rematch against Ruiz six months later, many fans and pundits believe the loss represented a style change for the Brit.
Once a wrecking ball searching for knockouts, his career post-2019 looks more tentative – something Joshua himself attributes to just being a smarter fighter.
He would lose twice to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and 22 before building back with wins over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius. The Helenius knockout – albeit coming later than many predicted – was a confidence booster like no other.
With a fight either for another world title or against American knockout artist Deontay Wilder planned for 2024, Joshua must prove to fans against Wallin on December 23 that he’s on the up once more.