Anthony Joshua is having a rough 2019. After losing his unified heavyweight titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. in a stunning upset in June, Joshua and his team have drawn controversy for their move to place the contracted rematch in Saudi Arabia. In addition, former undisputed heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis has criticized Joshua and camp for failing to work out a fight with Deontay Wilder dating back to before the first Ruiz bout.
When Joshua was interviewed by Sky Sports and Lewis was brought up as a heavyweight who had to rebound from tough losses in his career, Joshua fired some big shots.
“Lennox is a clown,” Joshua said. “I don’t respect Lennox.”
Interviewer Anna Woolhouse questioned if there was a similar need for Joshua to rebound from the loss as Lewis did to build a legacy.
“It’s nothing compared to what Lennox is doing. Nothing. Me and Lennox aren’t the same. My legacy is to sit back and enjoy the younger generation coming up, and not to really be involved, just appreciate what it takes to get there. Lennox isn’t like that. Me and Lennox are cut from a different cloth.”
Lewis used Twitter to respond to Joshua’s comments, attempting to shift blame for Joshua’s comments to Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn.
“Disappointed in AJ’s words but I understand that this “jealousy” narrative was only fabricated AFTER I criticized them for Wilder negotiations,” Lewis wrote. “All of the sudden I’m a hater. Ask who benefits from such a simple minded narrative? Not AJ. Not me.”
“Casting me as a “jealous hater” for AJ’s career is nonsense,” he continued. “It all started with rightful criticism for not doing enough to make wilder fight happen. I won’t be pitted against AJ. #TheHearnAgenda”
More boxing news, rumors
- Hearn spoke with Fight Hub about the controversy surrounding the Joshua/Ruiz rematch being placed in Saudi Arabia. Hearn suggested the controversy means the “entire world” will be watching when the fight goes down. “I’m going to tell you something that’s probably very controversial: it just means it’s absolutely massive,” Hearn said. “I mean, from a personal point of view, I never really want controversy ’cause it’s a pain in the ass. But what I can tell you is controversy makes the fight, the event, the talking points so much bigger.”
- WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman clarified they have not suspended Dillian Whyte as a result of adverse findings in his drug tests prior to fighting Oscar Rivas, but rather “The WBC suspended the situation regarding the interim championship and mandatory status of the division.”
- Joshua Buatsi, bronze medalist at the Rio Olympic games, will face Ryan Ford on the undercard of Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Luke Campbell on Aug. 31. Buatsi will defend his WBA international light-heavyweight title against Ford, a man who has managed to avoid being stopped by strikes across a career in both boxing and MMA.