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Anthony Joshua explains why he doesn’t rate Deontay Wilder as “elite”

Anthony Joshua insists former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is not an ‘elite fighter’ – because he only has one weapon.

Joshua missed out on a huge undisputed title fight with Tyson Fury because of an arbitration case brought by Wilder which ruled that the ‘Gypsy King’ had to fight the American, despite having beaten him brutally in their rematch last year.

And now Joshua will have to focus on his mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk, who he will fight in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

But speaking with Sky Sports, Joshua has said that he doesn’t feel Wilder is at the elite level, and says that he would ‘kick his a**’ if they ever fought.

“He isn’t an elite-level fighter, in my opinion,” Joshua told Sky Sports News in one of his first interviews since the Fury fight fell apart.

“He’s good, it’s the heavyweights, so they always know one punch can change the course of a fight, but I’ve never, ever seen in the heavyweight division a fighter going to war with just one weapon, which is what they say is his right hand.

“When you get to the top level? Trust me, that don’t last anymore, that don’t work.

“As we’ve seen now with certain fights of elite-level fighters, he struggles at the top level, and there’s a lot more of us waiting for that opportunity as well to kick his a**.”

Wilder has accused Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn of preparing ‘excuses’ for why he wouldn’t take that fight assuming he defeats Fury.

But the Brit disputes this claim, saying that his record speaks for itself.

“This is the first time I’m talking about Deontay Wilder, so I don’t know what excuses he’s thinking I’m making.

“I’m a throwback fighter. Check the resume, I’ve been in with all of them. The new school and the old school, and there’s still a lot more to do. I’m fighting a great fighter in Usyk.

“I will fight them all. Wilder is just another one in the pecking order, no problem – I don’t know what excuses he’s talking about.”
Wilder has said that he would finish Joshua in a ‘devastating fashion’, and he has one backer of that theory in his next opponent Fury.

The Manchester native was put down by Wilder twice in their first fight, including a devastating right hand in the twelfth round that would have stopped most other opponents.

However, he arguably won that fight, which was officially ruled a draw, and didn’t leave any doubt when he brutalised the American in their rematch early last year.

“I’ll deal with these guys later,” Fury told Sky Sports when asked about Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn.

“The most important thing to me is Wilder, the most dangerous heavyweight in the world who would knock out Joshua in the first round.

“I’ve got to get past Wilder then those guys will get their five minutes of fame. I’ll give them the biggest beatdown they have had in their lives.”

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