Posted on 10/19/2021
By: Hans Themistode
Nothing appears to be off with Anthony Joshua. The former unified heavyweight titlist still possesses hulking muscles, still flashes a bright smile, and appears to be just as menacing as he always was. Yet, after watching Joshua over the past few fights, Tim Bradley believes something is off.
Recently, both Joshua and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury took center just a few weeks apart from one another. Although both men were expected to leave the ring victorious, it was Joshua who was unable to hold up his end of the bargain, losing to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
As Usyk’s hand was raised in triumph, Joshua congratulated his adversary and continued to do so in the back room, away from most of the cameras and press. While Bradley isn’t opposed to Joshua’s sportsmanship, he was taken aback by how the former titlist conducted himself following his most recent defeat.
“It’s a different mentality,” said Bradley during an interview with FightHype.com. “Joshua, his mentality is way different than Tyson Fury. Joshua’s okay, it just seems like he’s comfortable with losing a fight. He’s gracious and whatever you want to call it, but it’s too easy for me.”
Both Fury and Joshua, considered bitter rivals, were hoping that after their respective matches, an all British undisputed showdown could take place. Fury would go on to pick himself up off the deck twice on October 9th, to go on to stop former heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder.
Although many have pointed to tactical errors in Joshua’s game plan against Usyk, such as attempting to box a boxer as opposed to bullying him and using his size, Bradley isn’t necessarily placing his focus on the X’s and O’s. Instead, Bradley points to a long list of luxurious available to Joshua. And, more importantly, the first night Joshua tasted defeat at the hands of Andy Ruiz Jr.
“Boss, it’s hard to train when you’ve got the whole world at your feet,” claimed Bradley. “It’s hard to train and stay focused and stay dedicated and having that hunger and desire. Because success, that weakens [the mind], and I think in the Ruiz fight – I think that ruined him.”
On June 1st, 2019, Ruiz Jr. stepped in on late notice to face Joshua for his U.S. debut. Despite being considered a huge underdog on the night, Ruiz Jr. would go on to drop Joshua four times before ultimately stopping him in the seventh. The British native, however, immediately invoked his rematch clause and would go on to win a wide unanimous decision six months later.
Regardless of Joshua avenging the first loss of his career, Bradley isn’t convinced that he’s the same ferocious fighter that he once was.
“I think that ruined his confidence, I think he’s also scared to get hit. He’s gun shy, don’t wanna throw because he’s afraid of getting hit, so that’s why you didn’t see him throw.”