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Joshua’s Steady Rise To Old Self

by Silverbird News24

How Day of Reckoning Favoured Joshua, Dubois, Parker

I once wrote that Saudi Arabia is fast becoming the new boxing theatre and it proved it on December 23 with some great fights.

Tagged the Day of Reckoning, three of the night’s fights ended spectacularly with the British pugilists, Anthony Joshua and Daniel Dubois rekindling the image of the game.

This came about 10 weeks after an unimpressive performance by a British Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury, against an MMA convert, Francis Ngannou.

Dubois stopped American Jarrell Miller in round 10. The Briton was out to win from the start with his jabs. Dubois’ footwork and his movement in and out of baby Miller’s reach was a game plan he acted from round one to round 10 to see off the lousy American.

Both are infighters but on Saturday night, Dubois fought more from the outside. He maximised the usage of the ring to distance himself from the heavy punches of Miller. I could identify Dubois tactics from the start, which was to tire out Miller and frustrate him. The tactics worked for him.

He was moving away from Miller while also landing some big shots to push the American back. It was clear that Dubois was a bit tired in the later rounds of the match but I love his courage in round 10.

Sensing that Miller would come for the kill in the championship round. He noticed the vulnerability of the Americans and capitalised on the opening to send some good combinations that nearly fall the big baby. He won by stoppage, technical knockout.

Dubois did not win because he had got heavier punches than Miller, the British displayed great boxing skills, intelligence and capacity to keep to game plan for the duration of the fight.

And that was what happened between Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder. The New Zealander came with a game plan; to hide away from the American’s right hand for the 12 rounds.

Wilder, as I have written many times is a “mono-tactic” boxer. He is not a creative fighter. He will lose against any opponent who can either withstand his big punch or dodge it.

In his over 40 matches, I can boldly say that Wilder had only fought three highly technical boxers. They are Fury, Luiz Ortiz and now Parker and he lost to two of them. He nearly lost to Ortiz too.

America has not been producing world class boxers lately and it shows in the quality of Wilder and Miller. The two had come to Saudi to show power instead of skills and they lost.

The reason why all of them are looking for Anthony Joshua now is because of the Briton past susceptibility, which for me has failed to define his last two bouts judging by his performance against Otto Wallin last night.

Joshua had now fought thrice since he lost to Oleksandr Usyk, winning all the three superlatively. His latest performance in Saudi on Saturday is a testament to Joshua’s ingenuity and why he should not be written off in his search to becoming a three-time heavyweight champion.

Joshua is not in the same class with Wallin. His number of punches in round five alone are more than all what Wallin threw in the whole of the five rounds.

But before the match, Wallin had only seen one weakness in Joshua, which is the Briton’s downward fall and how vulnerable he had been since his fight against Andy Ruiz Jr about five years ago.

Wallin was blind to Joshua’s split decision loss to Usyk, who happens to be the most tactical heavyweight at present. Wallin never saw Joshua’s victory against Robert Helenius where he finished the Finnish with a devastating hook.

All what Wallin saw was a vulnerable Briton until their battle in Saudi where he lost between round five and six. Wallin retired on his stool, having noticed the class Joshua is made of.

In the match, Joshua was more composed and calculative. He landed heavy punches that gave Wallin a blood nose as earlier as round two. This was the same Wallin that nearly created an upset for Fury.

Joshua’s case is like a “promiscuous” lady whom every randy guy wants to sleep with but who turns out to be a virgin. The fact that Joshua had lost some matches does not mean he has lost it all.

The fact remains that he lost to good boxers. Ruiz is not a pushover in boxing circle while Usyk will go down in history as one of the talented boxers who ruled cruiserweight leaving the division as undisputed champion to become a unified heavyweight champion after about three fights.

What killed Joshua in his first fight against Ruiz was poor knowledge and judgement of the Mexican and what killed him against Usyk was his style.

Usyk is a cat. He is fast, crafty and enduring. He can change styles when things are not going his way. He is creative and slippery, making it difficult for any heavyweight now to outwit him. Yet Joshua did it with him twice.

We look forward to Fury vs Usyk, which will determine the next move for Joshua. I think Joshua will prefer to fight for belt now that he has wormed himself back into the hearts of his many lovers.

He made $12 million against Wallin in one night.

Congrats to Joshua, Dubois and Parker

By Kunle Awosiyan

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