One of boxing’s greats, Lennox Lewis has come out categorically saying that Anthony Joshua made a huge blunder by not fighting Deontay Wilder, instead allowing lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury take the challenge of facing the unbeaten WBC champion.
By his reckoning, Fury made Joshua look like he lacked courage by taking the fight that he wouldn’t take in facing Wilder. Fury said he didn’t like the way Joshua made the UK look bad by not agreeing to fight Wilder, and he wasn’t going to let that happen on his watch.
The reason that happened according to Lewis is because “Joshua is being told what to do by his management, and he’s failing to get the big fights against the top guys. Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) could have gotten Wilder to agree to a $15 million flat fee if he’d agreed to fight him last September, but instead of AJ doing that, he let his promoter Eddie Hearn have him take a smaller fight against Alexander Povetkin on September 22.”
As it turns out, that move was an absolute disaster, as now Wilder wants a 50-50 purse split for the Joshua fight, and he’s no longer willing to agree to the flat fee offers. It’s going to cost Joshua a lot more money to get Wilder to agree to the fight against him, and his percentage is clearly going to drop badly.
“If I was in his position, I would have fought one of those guys, but his managers are really leading his way, and they’re deciding who they want him to fight, but they’re missing out on the big fights,” Lennox Lewis said to SI Now/Sports Illustrated about Joshua’s promoters at Matchroom Boxing swerving fights against Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury in order to take the more winnable ones against the likes of 39-year-old Alexander Povetkin, 41-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, Joseph Parker, Dillian Whyte and Carlos Takam.
“He [Joshua] got offered $50 million the other day, and he never took it. Tyson Fury really answered the call for that fight [against Deontay Wilder]. To me, I think that was a mistake to allow Tyson Fury to get that shot,” Lewis said.