Former boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has reignited his rivalry with fellow Brit Anthony Joshua by predicting that Deontay Wilder would beat Joshua should they come to blows later this year in Saudi Arabia. Lewis, who last held the heavyweight title in April 2000, believes Wilder’s intention to hurt opponents with his right hand would put him ahead in a bout against Joshua. Talks are ongoing to stage the fight on the same night as Oleksandr Usyk vs Tyson Fury, which could result in an undisputed heavyweight champion.
The tension between Joshua and Wilder first surfaced years ago when Lewis questioned why Joshua wasn’t making a fight with Wilder happen, saying Joshua “wants to go around making money”. This criticism from Lewis brought about a series of petty incidents and verbal exchanges between the two fighters. Joshua had reportedly approached Lewis at the beginning of his career to ask for guidance, but failed to follow up with a call. This was just one of many swipes the two fighters have taken at each other publicly.
Despite predictions from Lewis and ongoing talks about a Joshua vs Wilder bout, Joshua is said to be keen to have another fight before potentially facing Wilder. A defeat to Wilder could be career-defining for Joshua, who has expressed his disapproval of Lewis’ criticisms in the past.
Should the Joshua vs Wilder fight happen, it could be a historic moment in boxing with an undisputed heavyweight champion being crowned for the first time since Lewis’ reign. The outcome of the fight could also impact the already strained relationship between Joshua and Lewis, who have failed to see eye-to-eye throughout Joshua’s career.