There’s only one fight in the heavyweight division that absolutely needs to happen: Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) vs Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs).
A fight between the two undefeated world champions is just what the sleepy division needs right now. Wilder has been calling out AJ for some time, but Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has been sandbagging the super-fight.
Joshua, the WBA, IBF and IBO champion, recently defeated the sturdy Carlos Takam, dominating him for ten rounds before the referee called a stop to the fight. The stoppage was a little premature, but Joshua had dominated almost every round (the scorecards were 89-81, 89-81, 90-80 at the time the fight was stopped) and Takam was merely surviving by the tenth round. The best he could have hoped for was a decision loss, which would have made him the first fighter to go the distance against Joshua.
The week after, Wilder faced a lethargic Bermane Stiverne for the second time. He knocked down the 39-year-old three times in the first round before the referee called an end to the fight. It was a non-event: Stiverne threw a total of four punches and landed none.
After the two lackluster fights, calls for Joshua vs Wilder grew even louder. Both Wilder and Eddie Hearn recently appeared on Tha Boxing Voice, a boxing talk show, where they traded verbal blows over the airwaves. Wilder pressed Hearn for a fight, and the English promoter (reluctantly) agreed that the fight needed to happen.
It seems like only a matter of time until the WBC, WBA, IBF and IBO titles are unified.
Who would be the favorite? When will it happen? And where will it take place? Glad you asked.
Joshua vs Wilder: odds to win
Anthony Joshua: -450
Deontay Wilder: +300
Anthony Joshua, the London 2012 gold medalist, is the heavy favorite in this match-up. He’s extremely technically proficient for a heavyweight, and takes a measured and calculated approach to his fight game. While he boasts 20 knockouts in 20 professional fights, he’s by no means a slugger. For a heavyweight, his power is nothing special. But his defense and ability to open up his opponents has never failed him.
Contrast that to Deontay Wilder, who packs unbelievable power but isn’t regarded for his technical prowess. He had a successful amateur career, winning a bronze medal in Beijing, and quickly made the leap to the professional scene. His form is laughable at times and the way he exposes himself when he swings wildly at his opponents leaves him vulnerable, yet we can’t deny his results. After 39 professional fights, he’s never even come close to losing.
Part of that is due to the caliber of his opponents. Wilder has yet to face a noteworthy challenger, and he’s never fought anyone remotely close to Joshua. That said, Joshua is largely untested as well. Apart from his win against a 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua hasn’t fought many people of note.
Joshua is rightly the favorite here, but the current odds underestimate WIlder. An undefeated man with fight-stopping power in both hands should definitely have shorter odds than +300. If you’re inclined to pick Joshua, then I would recommend waiting for the line to improve. Right now the value is with Wilder.
Pick: Deontay Wilder (+300)
Joshua vs Wilder: odds on method of victory
Joshua by KO, TKO, or DQ: -225
Wilder by KO, TKO, or DQ: +350
Joshua by Decision: +600
Wilder by Decision: +2000
Consider their records and you’ll see why the odds for this fight going the full 12 rounds are so long. Joshua has never allowed a fight to reach the judges, and Wilder has only had one fight reach decision. Wilder knows that if the fight drags into the later rounds, it’ll be Joshua who stands to gain. And if Joshua can avoid Wilder’s power and exploit his wild fighting style, the bout could be over very quickly.
The long odds for a decision victory may seem enticing, but I wouldn’t count on either Joshua or Wilder winning via scorecard. Prepare for an early stoppage when these two knockout artists touch gloves.
Over/Under Joshua vs Wilder fight date: July 31, 2018
Just because all parties agree that the fight needs to happen, it won’t necessarily be imminent. There are going to be a lot of contractual details to work out, and Hearn can be intractable. One of the main sticking points is bound to be the location of the bout …
Odds on Joshua vs Wilder fight location
Las Vegas: +150
New York City: +300
Anthony Joshua has fought his entire professional career in the UK, and a fight against the first American heavyweight champ since Shannon Briggs is the perfect way to make his US debut. However, Joshua is committed to setting up the fight on “his terms,” which could mean dragging Wilder to his side of the pond.
Any fight Joshua has at Wembley or the O2 would sell out instantly, and as the A-side, Joshua could demand that they fight in his hometown. But if he wants to make a name for himself on the international stage, now is the time to do it. As always, Vegas beckons.
Odds Tyson Fury fights the winner of Joshua vs Wilder before end of 2019: +300
To complicate things, Tyson Fury has — once again — thrown his hat back in the ring. The former British heavyweight king walked away from the sport two years ago, vacating the heavyweight crown after ending the Klitschko era.
The “Gypsy King” has contemplated returning several times before, but nothing has ever come of it. He left the sport due to mental health and drug abuse issues, and he’s since put on a ton of weight. Even if he does commit to a fight, he’ll need a while to get back into shape.
There’s a good chance he’ll be sitting ringside when Joshua and Wilder finally touch gloves, but I wouldn’t count on him stepping into the ring anytime soon. Having said that, he’s still only 29 years old, so it definitely isn’t too late for him to restart his career.