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Is Joe Joyce Wrong After Claiming That Anthony Joshua Could Now Be Afraid To Be Hit?

Joe Joyce

Joe Joyce, who has recently come off an attention demanding victory over Daniel Dubois, has suggested that Anthony Joshua may be wary of being hit ever since being stopped by Andy Ruiz in New York back in 2019.

The European heavyweight champion has predicted that Tyson Fury will come out as the winner if, and when Joshua and Fury collide. But he still thinks that such a fight will be pretty much an even affair and has praised Fury for rising up from his personal issues to become a world champion once again.

Daniel Dubois
Daniel Dubois has rebuilding to do after being defeated by Joyce a couple of months ago.

“I’m going with Fury because of his performances and the way he’s come back from his lowest point to beat Deontay Wilder for the WBC,” Joyce told Standard Sport.

“I think that while Joshua’s picked himself up since losing to Andy Ruiz Jr, he’s kind of been a bit too negative in his style, and been a bit wary of the shots coming back at him. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a 50-50 fight, Joshua has got great strength, hand speed, dedication and motivation, and he’s very competitive. With Fury, you know he is mentally very strong, tactically as well. He’s unorthodox and hard to hit, he’s fast and he’s a bigger guy with the longer reach. For me, he has the edge.”

Even if he was asked, Joshua would never admit whether he holds any degree of fear of being punched. Let us get that out of the way first. He has always come across as a pretty honest guy, but ego and pride often gets the best of us when we are confronted with such questions. However, Joshua comes across as a pretty intelligent person when it comes to boxing. And I have to disagree with Joe Joyce on the possibility that Anthony may be scared to be hit.

Before his rematch with Andy Ruiz at the end of 2019, Joshua sought help from an old foe in Wladimir Klitschko to help him improve his game. One of Klitschko’s tactics when he was fighting was to clinch when he was hurt. His former trainer Emanuel Steward was known as somebody that was primarily focused on teaching defence. So, it is only logical to assume that clinching when caught cleanly would be tactically beneficial for both boxers. Not because of any feelings of fear.

Emanuel Steward
The late trainer Emanuel Steward was known for being a defensive minded trainer.

And it seems like that is one of the things that Wladimir has passed on to Joshua.

When the Watford fighter fought the Ukrainian back in 2017 he showed tremendous mental strength in being able to get up from a 6th round knockdown and come back to knock Klitschko out in the 11th. He displayed no reluctance to continue trying to win. And neither did he when he was knocked all around the ring by Andy Ruiz.

For me, there needs to be much clearer evidence that Anthony Joshua is afraid of being hit. And it has not presented itself yet. If it ever will.

The only statement I agree with Joyce about there is that the fight is probably slightly in Tyson Fury’s favour. He is the more intelligent boxer and always comes up with the right game plan to overcome opponents. And he is also correct when he says the potential clash is very close. I expect that there will be a lot of talking and surmising from many fighters, experts and fans that will only ramp up as the excitement and anticipation builds.

But what matters the most right now is whether we will know for sure if a contract is signed for Fury v Joshua to go ahead first. And then letting actions speak louder than words.