For Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua is as synthetic as they get. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The former WBC heavyweight titlist from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, suggested in a recent interview that he believes the achievements in the career of London’s Joshua have largely been manufactured, saying, in essence, that there is more hype than substance to Joshua’s name. In the interview, Wilder repeatedly said that Joshua’s backers had “given him everything.”
Wilder, to be sure, pointed out that his critique is not rooted in some personal animosity toward Joshua. He apparently feels, however, that Joshua’s latest loss to WBO, WBA, IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk is in some sense proof of Joshua’s superficial talents. Joshua lost a decision to Usyk in their unified heavyweight title rematch last month in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Asked to comment on what has gone wrong with the British heavyweight, Wilder offered a withering diagnosis.
“Y’all gon’ make me strike up a blunt, man,” Wilder told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. “The things I’ve been saying before, many things I’ve been saying before. They made Anthony Joshua. They made him. This has nothing to do with — ‘oh he don’t like him’ — nah it ain’t that, know what I’m sayin’? I don’t like him in a business sense. As a person, Anthony Joshua as a man, as a person, I don’t have nothing that I dislike as a person — but as a business man, in this business? I don’t like him at all. I don’t like that antics of business and how they conduct business because this is a gladiator business. Again, personally, I have nothing against him. Personally, I don’t know him as a man.
“As far as business is concerned, I don’t care nothing for him. But they made him. From the Olympics to the pro rankings. You know that. Business is business. We’re born to do it. Not made it. For me, a lot of people agree they gave him, even with the Olympics they gave him that medal. With these belts, they bought a lot of these belts. There’s nothing wrong with that because a lot of people buy certain positions, certain things, whatever. So if you have the money or whatever then go do it. But I think the way they move him and prepared him for certain moments that he was not ready for.”
Wilder has had a contentious relationship with the handlers of Joshua, primarily his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Hearn has gone back and forth with Wilder and Wilder’s manager Shelly Finkel on numerous occasions but especially back in 2018 and 2019, when it seemed that a Joshua-Wilder fight seemed like a distinct possibility.
Most recently, Wilder and Hearn have been trading words through the press after it was revealed that Hearn attempted to get in touch with Finkel to discuss a Joshua-Wilder fight once more. Wilder, however, ridiculed Hearn for the supposed offer because it was extended while Joshua was still preparing for the Usyk rematch. Finkel, for his part, eventually told a news outlet that he is open to a Joshua-Wilder fight. Wilder, of course, currently has business of his own to handle. He is set to end a nearly year-long layoff when he takes on Robert Helenius on Oct. 15 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Wilder suggested to Custer that he thinks Joshua has not been guided properly.
“A lot of things that he (Joshua) didn’t understand or whatever, being that they were his handlers, and he trusted them mostly because they were making him money,” Wilder said. “They were [saying] ‘all you gotta do is this and I’ll get you that’ and stuff like that. So that’s just my strong opinion. It could be different but that’s just my opinion. I just feel like they gave him everything. Although he had to fight and stuff like that, of course he had to fight, but they made that man. They gave him everything … that’s my opinion about it.
“I believe they created him, made him, and gave him a lot of things and they promoted him. They’ve done false promotions. One time he sold out faster than Michael Jackson. We can’t believe that sh!t, man. Stuff like that. He sold out faster than Michael Jackson! …I don’t care how many — you ain’t got enough countrymen and women … to sell out faster than Michael Jackson. Rest in peace, Mike, I got your back.”