‘AJ was a beast before he started boxing too much’
Ricky Hatton has offered encouragement to Anthony Joshua and has advised the former world champion to target a fight with Deontay Wilder, reports dazn.com.
The 2012 Olympic gold medallist is ready to rebuild his career following two consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk and his next fight is almost certain to hold in the first three months of the year.
Despite the double setback against Usyk, Joshua still holds serious aspirations of becoming world heavyweight champion for a third time.
Due to his high profile and championship credentials, Joshua is very much still in the mix at the heavyweight division’s business end, and Hatton believes he should look for a long-awaited showdown with Wilder.
“I’d have a little bit of a rebuilding fight to get his confidence, and no-one should complain about it,” said Hatton when speaking to Mega Casino.
“He’s lost his last two fights against Usyk, which is no shame whatsoever. Another factor is how hard he took the defeat where we grabbed the mic, and he took the belts out the ring and everything like that.
“So, obviously it affected him hard. So, don’t chuck him in at the deep end again. Give him someone a bit of a token, you know what I mean? And then go in for the Wilder fight.”
Meanwhile, Filip Hrgovic has described Joshua as a beast who lost his way when he started boxing too much.
Though rivals, Hrgovic had a healthy dose of both respect and fear for the former unified heavyweight champion. While the former may still be present, the latter has ostensibly dissipated for Hrgovic, reports boxingscene.com.
Joshua, 33, once stood as the proud holder of the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles. However, following consecutive shortcomings at the hands of Usyk, Joshua’s reign at the top of the heavyweight mountain came to an end.
In their first meeting, a fleet of foot Usyk boxed circles around a listless Joshua. Although his hulking physique suggested that he would attempt to bully his man, Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) opted to box and move, leading to his untimely demise.
Nearly one month later, Joshua would come up short once again, losing yet another showdown against Usyk, this time via split decision.
Hrgovic, a highly-ranked contender in each of the four sanctioning bodies, has been mystified by Joshua’s performances as of late.
Hrgovic, at least thus far, has remained true to himself. The 30-year-old from Zagreb, Croatia, has mostly run through his competition, stopping some of the more durable heavyweight contenders around. But, in his most recent trip to the ring, Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs) was forced to peel himself up off the deck before scoring a close and somewhat controversial unanimous decision victory on the night.
Now, as the 30-year-old Croatian continues to closely examine the overall career of Joshua, he has a difficult time recognising the fighter that stands before him. In addition to the former Olympic gold medalist opting to box on the outside against Usyk, the two-time champion has remained uncommitted to a singular coach. Due to a combination of his lack of aggression and propensity to soak up knowledge, Hrgovic is convinced that Joshua has simply lost his way.
“I’m careful not to learn too much and become something that I’m not, take away my advantages,” said Hrgovic during an interview with Tru School Sports.
“I think that happened to Anthony Joshua. He was a beast. He was a knockout artist and then he started to learn too much about boxing and he started to box too much, overthinking.”