Promoter Frank Warren: Joshua Is NO Muhammad Ali

Promoter Frank Warren saw a lot of flaws in the game of IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs) last Saturday night with his 10th round knockout of replacement opponent Carlos Takam (35-4-1, 27 KOs). Warren thinks it’s unfair to Joshua for him to be compared to Muhammad Ali by some boxing fans.

Warren doesn’t see Joshua as being that type of fighter. Warren says one thing that separated the two heavyweights was Ali had a chin. He could take a good punch. Joshua has been hurt a number of times in his 4-year pro career, and he’s still getting started. Joshua hasn’t fought WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who will be will be testing out his career if the fight ever gets made.

Warren says that he thinks Joseph Parker did a better job of beating Takam last year than Joshua did last Saturday at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Parker beat Takam by a 12 round unanimous decision, but he used movement to avoid getting hit. Parker didn’t stand in front of Takam the way that Joshua did. It was a lot easier for Parker to avoid catching shots from Takam, considering that he had mobility and the boxing ability. At 254 pounds, Joshua was too heavy to use movement against Takam. As such, Joshua was forced to stand and trade with Takam whether he wanted to or not. With a crowd of 78,000 boxing fans in attendance for the fight, Joshua couldn’t have used ring movement to avoid Takam without being booed by the fans.

“I thought Takam did much better than I thought,” said Warren to IFL TV. “I thought AJ would get him out of there a little bit quicker, but there was only going to be one winner unless he ran out of gas. He was getting caught a few times in the fight. That for me is a potential chink in his armor. When I looked at Joseph Parker fighting Takam, I thought Joseph Parker did a better job. I really did think he did a better job. I thought he was more in control. He did what he had to do,” said Warren about Joshua beating Takam.

Parker beat Takam without getting hit as much. That much is clear. Parker probably could have knocked Takam out if he’d stood and slugged with him. Takam was bigger at 241 pounds for his fight with Parker last year compared to the 235 lbs. that he weighed for the Joshua fight. Takam lost some of his power in trimming down for the Joshua fight. It was arguably a mistake on Takam’s part to come in as long as he did for the Joshua fight. Takam should have been as heavy as possible for the fight given Joshua’s huge weight. Takam focused on being light so that he could move better, but he needed size more rather than mobility.

“He was very heavy,” said Warren about Joshua. “It is what it is. You expect him to beat a 36-year-old, who was coming in as a last-minute replacement substitute. But to compare him, Takam, to Evander Holyfield’s style, come on, if he’d [Joshua] been in there with Evander Holyfield, he would have come out with the belt. He would have caught him. If he would have caught him, he would have known about it. He must get embarrassed, AJ, that people compare him to [Muhammad] Ali. Let’s be realistic. He’s a great young fighter, Anthony Joshua, but he ain’t no Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali was around for a long, long time, not [just] 3 fights. Muhammad Ali was considered a good fighter after beating Sonny Liston twice. They all thought he was nothing. So, don’t compare him with that. The one thing he hasn’t got, which Muhammad Ali had, is one of those [Warren points to his chin], because he gets caught. It’s been disingenuous to Anthony. These guys need to calm themselves down. You got eyeballs; watch what you see. He beat Charles Martin. Charles who? For a belt the IF nicked off of Tyson Fury, and he had an exciting fight against Klitschko. But let’s get it right. Klitschko, 18 months before, was taken to school by Tyson Fury; you look at that. You look at Dillian Whyte, who banged him on the whiskers. You can see there’s chinks there,” said Warren.

Ali was just a much better all-around fighter than Joshua. Ali wasn’t lifting weights trying to bulk up for his fights the way that Joshua has been doing since he turned pro in 2013. Ali was a lot more athletic and technically sound than Joshua. When Ali was younger, he was able to move around the ring well. Ali was a different type of heavyweight. Ali was still fighting well in his mid-30s. It’s unclear whether Joshua will still even be fighting when he’s in his mid-30s.

Joshua says he wants to rule the heavyweight division for 10 years. With the way Joshua has looked in his last 2 fights against Takam and Wladimir Klitschko, it doesn’t look possible for him to be still fighting when he reaches his mid-30s. Someone will have beaten Joshua by then, and they’ll have his number. If Joshua keeps getting bigger by adding more muscle weight, he’s going to shorten his boxing career without his opponents having to do anything special to beat him. Joshua will wind up wrecking his career himself with his love of weight lifting. In the early part of Ali’s career, he was weighing in the 210 range. Joshua is a lot bigger than Ali, both in height and weight. With all the size that Joshua has, he’s not able to do the things that Ali could.

I want to see him fight Tyson Fury,” said Warren in talking about Joshua. “If Tyson Fury gets his fighting license back, gets a couple of fights, and then fights him. The hearing is in January. We’ll see what happens. I hope he does get it back. It’s terrible what’s happened to him. Lucas Browne is back fighting again. He’s been found guilty of PEDS, and he’s now back boxing again. This guy has been out for 2 years now. Give him a break,” said Warren about Fury. It’s a shame. He’s the guy that already beat the guy. He took him to school in his own backyard. AJ is good for boxing. Look at all his fans. He fought Takam, who gave him a really tough fight, but who’s Takam?” said Warren.

If Tyson Fury can get back to the form that he was at in 2015 for his fight with Wladimir Klitschko, then he could be a real problem for Joshua. Right now, it’s still speculative whether Fury will be able to ever regain his form from 2015. It’ll take a lot of training, fighting and discipline for Fury to return to where he was at before. With the way that Fury likes to reward himself with food in between fights, it’s unlikely he’ll ever get back to where he was before.

“I’d like to see a Sky commendatory for once where they’re not cheer-leading,” said Warren in talking about the Sky commentators appearing to root for the boxers on the Sky telecasts. “Being real, say what it is, and they don’t. All this cheer-leading. Having said that, they built something, haven’t they? They created something. Sky created this situation where he’s become quite big, a big star and a big personality,” said Warren about Sky making Joshua into a huge star in boxing. “It’s great for boxing. It puts boxing on the front pages,” said Warren.

Warren’s thoughts about Sky have been echoed by many boxing fans over the years. Some of the fans dislike the way the Sky commentators appear to be rooting for A-side fighters that appear on that network. The fans want to see neutral commentary by the commentators on Sky.

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