Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) vs. Anthony Joshua (21-0, 20 KOs)
When: No date announced yet.
Where: No location announced yet.
Weight Class: World Heavyweight Title
by Scott of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Deontay Wilder (+125), Anthony Joshua (-155)
It’s a matter of “when” and not “if” the two best heavyweights in the world will fight, with unbeaten champions Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua on a collision course for the top spot. We’re talking about a pair of KO artists with a combined record of 61-0 with 59 knockouts! It’s the most-anticipated heavyweight title fight in years and the first time in nearly two decades that the division has been led by a two-headed monster. It’s not common that two unbeaten heavyweight champions do battle in their primes and that’s just what he have in this matchup-a historic and legacy-defining fight for both Wilder and Joshua.
There are things that still need to be hashed-out, with both sides confident a deal can be done. Some of those details could have a bearing on this fight, namely the site of the fight. A huge draw who fills massive soccer stadiums in the UK, Joshua and his camp will try to line up the fight in his stomping grounds. Wilder, having fought in the US, could be thrown off by a 80K seat venue, as those stadiums are cavernous and a new experience for those in those conditions for the first time. And if Joshua were to fight Wilder in the States, that could also throw him off. The fighter who will be more in his element will have a nice edge. And in a perfect world, the site wouldn’t matter. But from a judging standpoint, the site could be critical. That’s assuming this fight goes the distance, something their styles and KO percentage suggest won’t happen.
It might seem strange to say this, but each man’s shortcomings make this even more-exciting. You have two unbeaten champions with Wilder 32 and Joshua 28 years old. But both men are still developing. Wilder, a late starter in the sport, parlayed a short amateur career into a medal-winning performance in the 2008 Olympics. His power, especially with the right hand, has splattered every opponent he has faced. Joshua also started late, but still was good enough to win the gold medal in the Olympics in London in 2012. With Joshua at 6’6″ and Wilder an inch taller, these are towering big men with a high level of dangerousness. But we’re not dealing with the craftiest heavyweights ever and that could lead to more fireworks.
Both champions are tested, however, having braved some stormy passages in their fights. That helps both men, who are both battle-hardened to some extent. Joshua has escaped near-defeat to beat Klitschko. And in his last fight in March, Wilder took on dangerous Luis Ortiz and with the fight close in the 10th round, Wilder dropped the hammer. He rebounded from being badly hurt in the 7th round and showed his championship mettle. He’s not just a front-running bomber with his right hand.
Wilder, however, does show an overall lack of the finer points at times. Other than an underused jab, a lot of Wilder’s work is uneven from round-to-round. In nearly all of his title fights, he has lost rounds. And sometimes a handful of rounds haven’t gone Wilder’s way in fights. So far, he’s been able to deliver the power that decides the fight, but in-between those big right hands landing, he’s not the best worker in the ring.
Joshua showed a nice side to his fighting in his last appearance, a wide 12-round points win over fellow titleholder Joseph Parker. The decision win was the first time Joshua went the distance as a pro. We saw Joshua fight a more-measured fight, taking what was given him by the conservative Parker. It showed Joshua can win in a different way, having won all his previous bouts by KO. With Wilder a more-dangerous foe and not one who will fight a nip-and-tuck style, Joshua will have to call on his ability to win a firefight in this one.
Wilder’s general lack of polish and craft shouldn’t detract from some imperfections present in the opposite corner. With a guy like Wilder who can shoot the straight shot with concussive affects, a potential Joshua backer should be concerned. Joshua does a lot of things very well, but he is available to be hit. A big target, he doesn’t move his upper body or his head very much. Defensively, he’s not very gifted. He blocks punches and moves well, not to mention his own power being a major deterrent for opponents to open up. But he is available and that could spell trouble if Wilder zeroes in with that wrecking-ball of a right hand.
Joshua is a more-robust physical presence. No one would call Wilder a small heavyweight as he towers over opponents at 6’7,” but having entered the ring at 214 pounds in his last fight, it’s hard to call him a big heavyweight. Joshua generally fights in the 240’s and is a bigger man. Wilder is slender, sort of a heavyweight version of a welterweight Tommy Hearns. What he lacks in robustness he makes up for with leverage and the ability to detonate that right hand on everyone he has fought thus far.
With fighters who are this dangerous, one can only be so sure. We’ve seen opponents really have their worlds come crashing down against these guys. Their power registers in eye-popping ways, with opponents not simply finished, but vaporized from the ring. Both have shown they can be hurt and with the fight-ending capability of each fighter, a prediction is indeed hard to cast. I like the limberness of Wilder, how he moves in a more-athletic way than Joshua. I think Joshua’s fight IQ is superior, however, and I find him to be a slightly more-bankable proposition, a more-robust specimen who might be better able to get through the rough moments. I’ll take Joshua.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting on Anthony Joshua at -155 betting odds. He’s the bigger man and seems more comfortable and capable in those moments where the big punches aren’t landing. Wilder is ultra-dangerous and picking against him should make one feel uneasy. But if Joshua gets him in trouble, Wilder might not get out of it, like he did against Ortiz in his last fight. Bet your Wilder/Joshua pick using your credit card and get a generous 50% sign up bonus at Bovada Sportsbook!