It wasn’t that long ago when the Klitschko brothers held all of the heavyweight titles hostage in Germany and there was a general malaise hovering over boxing’s most prized division. It gave birth to the lower weight class revolution we are living in, where welterweights and lightweights are the stars. However, it was in January of 2015 when that paradigm began to shift.
Watch the heavyweight world championship unification between undefeated IBF and WBA World Champion Anthony Joshua and unbeaten WBO World Champion Joseph Parker from Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Live Saturday, March 31 at 5PM ET/2PM PT on SHOWTIME.
When Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder fought Bermane Stiverne the first time, it was a true foreshadowing. Although Wilder lost his knockout streak while maintaining his unbeaten status, the diehards began to recognize the lanky heavyweight from Alabama. With his screams of, “Bomb Squad!” loud enough to burst an eardrum with every escalating decibel, Wilder began to ramp up his confidence and own the stage.
Getting hyped with @BronzeBomber for his fight tonight! https://t.co/A2HBHt9nGA
It was the perfect time because across the pond to the east, Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua was starting to heat up in the U.K., slowly brewing up a storm of support that had the kid from Watford, Hertfordshire looking like the next David Beckham.
Fast forward to today and Wilder has proven his dominance, avenging his decision victory over Stiverne with a destructive first round KO in the rematch. Recently, his fight against Luis Ortiz cemented his toughness as Wilder survived a barrage that would have downed most other men. But he weathered that storm and knocked Ortiz out.
Now that Joshua has a bout against Joseph Parker on March 31st to unify the WBO, WBA (Super), IBF, and IBO heavyweight titles, the stage is set for Joshua to prove his validity as the best heavyweight on the planet.
Wilder has caught a lot of slack for the appearance of selective matchmaking, better known as cherry picking. But his recent fights prove that he is willing to step in the danger zone of top competition and tread through its unpleasantness.
SHOWTIME Boxing analyst and Hall of Famer Steve Farhood takes a look into the boxing career of Unified Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua. Joshua faces his IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Takam on Saturday, October 28 at 5PM ET/2PM PT on SHOWTIME.
Joshua showed his resilience as well after surviving a knockdown against Wladimir Klitschko en route to retiring him in 11 rounds. Still, with a younger, hungrier champion in Parker, this will be his true test.
The reality is that the heavyweight division is back. The world can stop longing for a new Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis because what you have is Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Tyson Fury, Tony Bellew, David Haye, Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and more.
Throw a dash of the old school trash talking variety a la Shannon Briggs and you have the makings of a well-rounded division that is only growing by the year.
When Wilder and Joshua eventually fight, it should be a Las Vegas-style pay-per-view bonanza. While Joshua sits on the hot seat en route to his fight against Parker in the U.K., let’s relish the fact that the heavyweight division is back and looking more sustainable than ever.