British boxer will take part in his first fight in US in June
Joshua admits politics of boxing mean Wilder fight must wait
Lennox Lewis famously called the backroom shenanigans of professional boxing, “poli-tricks”. In the 20 years since Britain’s finest heavyweight had to split a dubious decision with his great adversary, Evander Holyfield, at Madison Square Garden, nothing has changed and the only compatriot in sight of challenging Lewis’s pre-eminence, Anthony Joshua, heads to the same venue not for any date with destiny but, as he admitted on Wednesday, a compromise defence of his titles.
Joshua is not fighting unbeaten New York giant Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller in New York on 1 June because fans are crying out for it; Miller – who is more dangerous than his nom de guerre would suggest – is the easiest available opponent to do business with given the breakdown of talks with Deontay Wilder, who owns the fourth quarter of the heavyweight championship that Joshua needs to match Lewis’s achievement of becoming the undisputed champion.
For the time being, at least, Wilder sees more financial sense in a rematch with Tyson Fury. So, not for the first or last time, fans have had to settle for second best – as Joshua conceded in a frank announcement on social media.
“You know the current state of boxing right now is full of politics,” he said, “but I’ve just got to roll with the punches. I would have loved to have fought at Wembley stadium and brought you guys the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world but … I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”