By John Wharton [Twitter: @whartojohn]
I’m sitting here watching Anthony Joshua destroy Gary Cornish inside a round, a few minutes earlier I’d seen boxing jump the shark as ‘AJ’ gave his own countdown to victory prior to his ring entrance. It was a win that told us nothing, I predicted that the fight wouldn’t last a round and I’m pretty sure the only similarities I share with celebrity ‘psychic’ Derek Acorah are our scouse roots.
Call me a snob, or call me contrary, but with each Anthony Joshua fight I’m almost praying for him to be knocked out. It’s nothing personal against Joshua on the couple of occasions I’ve spoken to him, he’s been the epitome of charming.
He may well be the next big hope and go on to dominate the world heavyweight scene for the next decade, but the over hype machine is grinding me down. The Sky and Matchroom cabal are intent on creating brand Joshua, eventually, the brand itself will become more important than the man. The relentless Sky propaganda has seen him receive more documentary coverage than Elton John, the only surprise is that they haven’t brought in Louis Theroux to spend a weekend with him.
A couple of nights before the Cornish exhibition Sky showed a documentary about the Watford fighter at half seven, nine thirty and at least three times before the next night. Back in May Jamie McDonell a BRITISH fighter fighting in a WORLD TITLE fight in America against a quality opponent, saw his fight relegated to delayed screening so they could show Joshua’s life and death epic with future hall of famer Rafael Zumbano Love.
In their desperation to entice the casual boxing fan to their shows, Hearn and Smith seem to have forgotten the true boxing fans. It appears to be working though there were over 10,000 people in attendance at the 02 and they seemed entertained enough despite the poor quality show. The true boxing fan isn’t being catered for at the moment, which is in stark contrast to what ‘new age promoter’ Eddie Hearn promised all those years ago.
There’s no doubt that over the last few years the resurgence of Matchroom has helped strengthen the British game and Eddie Hearn has put on some excellent shows over that time, but at the moment they’re letting the sport down. Just having Joshua on the bill isn’t enough, fights of the calibre of Ryan v Hibbert go some way towards redeeming Matchroom but when your headline fight at an arena of the magnitude of the 02 lasts just over a minute and a half and can’t be described as stunning then you’re doing something wrong.
Joshua’s next fight is against the only Englishman to ever defeat him in Dillian Whyte and Sky seem set on portraying him as a moustache twirling villain in the best silent movie tradition. I’m hoping that Whyte will ask some questions of the Olympian, but I’m also hoping that in the build up to the fight Sky and Matchroom will dial down the hype to at least a six.
I have a strong feeling I’ll be disappointed on both fronts come December 12th.