Anthony Joshua welcomes Deontay Wilder fight next | ‘Roll on! There’s no worry to me when it is’


Anthony Joshua defeated Robert Helenius by seventh round knockout after the Finn replaced original opponent Dillian Whyte; Joshua expects to fight dangerous puncher Deontay Wilder next in January and warned: “I’m just focused on smashing his head in now. And that’s it”

Anthony Joshua welcomes Deontay Wilder fight next | 'Roll on! There's no worry to me when it is'

Anthony Joshua is on course to fight Deontay Wilder in January.

Both are former heavyweight champions, Joshua previously a unified titlist while Wilder held the WBC belt until Tyson Fury handed him his first defeat.

A collision between two of the heavyweight division’s biggest punchers remains a richly enticing event, certainly to the Saudi Arabian backers who would seek to bring the fight to the Middle East.

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Anthony Joshua welcomes Deontay Wilder fight next | 'Roll on! There's no worry to me when it is'

In Saturday night’s bout with Robert Helenius, Joshua demonstrated the devastating power he can deliver. He executed a one-punch finish in the seventh round to level the Finn and conclusively end the contest.

However the fact that their fight went beyond the first half also underscored how Joshua’s style has changed, and how his boxing has become much more restrained.

He was cautious. He was patient. Those can be qualities.

But they also lead to unfavourable comparisons with Wilder. Joshua took seven rounds to finish Helenius. For Wilder, when he boxed the Finn last October, Helenius didn’t make it through the first round.

Joshua however is seemingly undeterred by the prospect of boxing the dangerous American, and is most likely to go into that fight next.

That’s exactly what Joshua expects. “Roll on,” he said. “There’s no worry to me when it is. I’m just happy we can get the fight going and I think people appreciate that.

“I’m doing my best to keep heavyweight boxing on the map.”

He doesn’t, however, believe their respective performances against Helenius need to be compared.

“Wilder’s got a good right hand, I’ve got a good right hand but [we’re] both completely separate fighters,” he said. “[For me there was] a switch of opponent. Switch of gameplan, I just followed it as best I could and got the victory in the seventh round.”

Joshua insisted he did not underrate Helenius. “His reputation was damaged due the fact that he was knocked out in a round but he’s a very good operator minus that,” Joshua said.

“We’re trying to shut each other’s advances down,” he explained of their bout on Saturday. “It’s a game of chess. When you’re playing it’s interesting. It’s a thinking man’s sport.

“Why am I going to go in there and trade from round one? Break him down.”

Joshua is a more patient boxer now. But his tremendous punch power hasn’t deserted him. Even though finding that finish took him longer than expected, it still came in an expertly executed combination.

But he wasn’t counting on that for the Wilder fight, Joshua insists.

Anthony Joshua welcomes Deontay Wilder fight next | 'Roll on! There's no worry to me when it is'

“Knockouts are good of course,” he said. “It’s not so much the knockout, it’s just the ring activity which gives me confidence, that’s what’s important.”

Wilder could be one of the final chapters in his career. When asked how long he had left in boxing, he simply replied: “Not long.”

Joshua must already be thinking about how he will close out his time in the sport. Wilder, the biggest fight he could get without a world title on the line, clearly is part of those plans.

“I believe that for years I’ve played my part bringing entertainment to heavyweight boxing,” he said.

Joshua wants to be remembered as the “guy that fought everyone”. Stepping into the ring with Deontay Wilder, even in a non-title bout, would only enhance that reputation.

That’s what he wants next. “We’ve just got to hope the other team play ball as well,” Joshua said.

“I’m just focused on smashing his head in now. And that’s it.”


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