In all my time covering boxing - a near decade in the industry - I’ve not come across one fighter scared to get in the ring with another man.
All I’ve been hearing in recent weeks is this fighter “ducked” that fighter, A is “avoiding” B, etc, etc, when it comes to the world heavyweight scene.
For those who have not stepped inside the squared circle, or felt the sting on leather on bare flesh, it’s easy to imagine X not wanting to fight Y. Why would they? They might get beaten.
That layman’s theory overlooks one massive thing, though - these men are modern day gladiators.
They choose to fight, it’s their living, it’s their life - even if it’s not their love, it’s the chief provider of the lifestyle they cherish.
Fighters love to fight. They are scared of no one - it kind of comes with the territory. And at the very top of the game, this is even more applicable - you can’t fake your way right to the upper echelons of the game, you’re there for a reason.
I apply this to all of three of Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, as I’ve seen all three accused of “ducking” in recent weeks.
Fury is from fighting roots - he had gloves on when he was still wearing nappies - he’d fight anyone, anywhere. Fact.
Joshua, I think gets a really bad press. He’s got three (or four if you count IBO in the mix) world titles around his waist. He’s fought the best available opponent at every turn and is only 22 fights and five years a pro. He’s fight anyone, tomorrow. Fact.
Wilder, for me, is the weak link of the three. He’s been a US hype job for some time, as the home of the heavyweights has lost most of its talent to the NBA or NFL. Still, though, he went toe-to-toe with Luis Ortiz and was happy to take on Alexander Povetkin in Russia. He’s another who, albeit belatedly in his career, will put it all on the line against ANYONE.
I want these fights to happen as much as you fight fans, but patience is a virtue. And as we all know that statement can be applied even more acutely when it comes to the fight game.
Josh Kelly's next opponent revealed?
A little birdie tells me Josh Kelly’s next opponent has already been lined up.
While details on who it could be remain sketchy, the rumoured current frontrunner is Przemyslaw Runowski.
He’s a 17-0 Polish fighter, who fights out of Damnica in his homeland.
Runowski has not fought outside of Poland and has a KO percentage of just 18%.
While that bout is not exactly going to get pulses racing, especially as trainer Adam Booth expects Sunderland welterweight Kelly to be nearing the top of the tree on the world scene within 18 months, it is thought to be just a step up to a bigger test on June 1, where, of course, Kelly is likely to be in a ‘big’ fight Stateside on the undercard of Joshua v Big Baby Miller at MSG.