By Tim Royner: Anthony Joshua says he doesn’t care for the way that former heavyweight champion Lennox LeWIS chose to give him helpful advice. Instead of calling him on the phone the way that former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has done in the past to help him with coaching, LeWIS chose to give his in public. Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) didn’t like that approach.
AJ was open to receiving advice following his 7th round knockout loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1, but he didn’t like the way LeWIS gave it in public on social media instead of reaching out to him like Klitschko has by calling him on the phone.
Some Boxing fans have perceived that move on LeWIS’ part as wanting to make sure he took credit for whatever success that Joshua achieved afterwards. In other words, fans saw it as a ‘grandstanding’ by LeWIS, and Joshua obviously saw it the same way. That’s why he responded in the manner he did in saying that LeWIS is a “clown”, and not “cut from the same cloth” as him. Joshua wasn’t talking about LeWIS’ talent as a fighter in what he accomplished in the past, but rather his way of giving advice. He did it in a self-serving way to get credit.
Joshua: LeWIS only contacted me by internet, Klitschko called
“I’ve always had doubters. The bad guy thing; I’ve said it. I am. I don’t really say much,” said Joshua. “If you keep poking me and poking me, and pushing me to the corner, I’m going to bite back. I’m not a confrontational type of person. I just keep myself to myself. [Lennox] LeWIS never reached out. I went to Jamaica to see LeWIS when I first wanted to turn professional, and he had plans for the heavyweight division. He had plans what he wanted to do with myself. I don’t think they would have worked out with what I wanted to do, so I didn’t go down that route. The only time I’ve heard of LeWIS making contact is via the Internet.
Who does take time to call me, and isn’t involved in the Internet is Wladimir Klitschko. Who calls me and advises me. I’m not really interested in the Internet. He just calls me, man to man. ‘What’s going on? This is what you need to do.’ I appreciate it,” said Joshua.
Joshua’s reaction to the public manner in which LeWIS has been critical of him made him look bad in the eyes of Boxing fans. LeWIS never called Joshua a “clown.” LeWIS stuck to giving advice in public about Joshua’s game. What complicates things is the fact that LeWIS is now a Boxing commentator, and he’s expected to be critical at times about different fighters. For LeWIS to use a hands off approach to just Joshua, he would be showing him favoritism by not dissecting his game. Joshua might not understand LeWIS’ situation now.
Lennox LeWIS telling like it is bothers Joshua
LeWIS has to ‘tell it like it is’ in his commentator roll, because if he doesn’t, then he won’t be doing his job. A lot of fans didn’t like the late commentator Howard Cossell, because he would ‘tell it like it is’ in giving his opinion about different fighters. They fans wanted to hear just positive stuff from Cossell, but he chose to tell his view of things without sugar coating it. LeWIS is doing the same thing, and Joshua doesn’t like it.
Joshua’s ego has taken a hit with his loss to Ruiz last June, and LeWIS is rubbing salt in his wounds by commenting about it. LeWIS hasn’t said anything out of the ordinary that the Boxing public isn’t saying about Joshua. Namely, that Joshua needs a new trainer. They think he’s been with Rob McCracken too long, and he needs a different coach to help his career.
LeWIS commented on Joshua needing a new trainer, and he also said he should have taken Ruiz up on his suggestion of staging the rematch in Mexico. Lennox saw that as a move that would have made Joshua look good, and he recommended he take the rematch there. Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn wanted no part of fighting Ruiz Jr. in Mexico or back in the United States. It’s unknown how LeWIS would have played it if he were in the same situation.
LeWIS avenged his losses to Americans in the U.S. Joshua is doing the opposite
When LeWIS lost to Americans Hasim Rahman and Oliver McCall, he chose to have the rematches take place their country in the United States. It was a different circumstances though. LeWIS chose to turn himself into a star by fighting in the U.S throughout his career rather than England. So he was basically adopted by Americans as one of their own fighters. Joshua hasn’t done that. He’s stayed in the UK fighting in front of his own fans. When he did finally step out of his comfort zone to fight Ruiz in New York, he was knocked out in the 7th round. Now that Joshua has lost, he wanted no part of coming back to the U.S. Instead, he and his promoter Hearn chose to stage the rematch with Ruiz in SAudi Arabia. Would LeWIS have done that? Probably not.
Joshua respects what LeWIS accomplished during his career
“Not for his Boxing. The man’s a beast when it comes to his Boxing,” Joshua said about LeWIS. “We’ve got his pictures all up in my gym. When we talk about Boxing, I respect that. But when we sit around the table, as men, I want to talk about how I want to appreciate the younger generation when I’m Boxing. To sit back and appreciate. Why is he attacking me rather than reaching out like Klitscho, and giving a young man advice when I need it. I did feel like that, and I’m not two-faced. Like I said, ‘if you poke me, poke me and poke me, sooner or later you’re going to hear what I have to say about you,’” said Joshua.