Johnny Nelson is a former British boxer who competed from 1986-2005. He is currently the longest reigning cruiserweight world champion of all time, having held the WBO title from 1999 to 2005 and making 13 successful title defenses.
As he currently works as a boxing pundit for Sky Sports, Sports Gazette asked him about the current WBA and IBF heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua.
Is Anthony Joshua one of the British heavyweight greats at this stage of his career?
“I wouldn’t call him a ‘great’ yet because he’s nowhere near the finished article, but looking at what he’s achieved already, that’s why he’s revered so highly and respected so much. He himself has even come out and said: ‘I’m not the finished article, even with what I’ve done.’
The reason why there’s so much hype around him is because the last heavyweight that had all those attributes was Mike Tyson, and Tyson had the power, he had the speed, he had the youth and with his reputation, he was terrifying because you just couldn’t contain him, and that’s Anthony Joshua.
He’s managed to put himself in a position where he’s taking chances as a young strong man and he’s coming out on top.”
So what’s your predictions for his upcoming fight against Carlos Takam?
“I see Anthony Joshua’s youth and speed taking Takam out, but it will not be that easy because Takam is tough, he’s strong so Anthony will have to work and he will have to be on the ball.
I believe with the right amount of preparation though, this fight is a better fight for Joshua [As opposed to Pulev].’’
If he wins, what’s next for Anthony Joshua?
“Well, we look at how the heavyweight game is moving around. You look at Deontay Wilder, it’s a pity him and Luis Ortiz didn’t happen because I thought that was his signature fight but I think Wilder has put himself in a great position and that’s a big money fight.
But of course, you have to mention David Haye – if he beats Tony Bellew because like it or not, the public are getting what they want.
Regardless if David Haye deserves it or not, this is why we’ve had such great fights over the last five years – because the British public have got what they want and they would want something like Haye vs Joshua.
It’s why fighters want to come from all over the world to fight in the UK; because we’re filling arenas out, putting 80,000 people in Wembley, and the reason promoters can do this is because they’re giving the fans what they want.
So the public would probably want a fight with Haye vs Joshua rather than Joshua vs Wilder and that’s a fact because regardless of what people say worldwide, the British public would want to see Haye vs Joshua.”
What do you think about Vitali Klitschko mentioning he would love to come back to avenge his brother Vladimir’s loss to Joshua?
“I rate Vitali. He’s a tough, tough man, but that would be a big mountain to climb because remember, he’s taken himself away from the game and he’s been out for too long.
But he’s a tough man and that’s how he talks and that’s how he is and it would be a good fight but I just don’t think he can turn back time.
“The question put to him was probably ‘off the cuff’ and was put to him as ‘Would you do it again?’ but no, it wouldn’t happen and I’ll be surprised if it does happen.”
Anthony Joshua takes on Carlos Takam this Saturday evening at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
Featured Photo Credit: @Eurosport_uk