The UK media are currently delivering a whirlwind of heavyweight title frenzy as they prepare for Sunday’s announced April 9th meeting between new IBF champion Charles Martin and British sensation Anthony Joshua.
The word ‘sensation’ hasn’t been used lightly in this sense. The Olympic Gold medallist is possibly Britain’s most popular fighter since Ricky Hatton and certainly the most marketable.
Winning the world heavyweight title is a big deal, nobody can blame Joshua and his team for taking such a lucrative match-up. What boxing fans have to be careful of doing, is not falling into what I’d describe as the ‘Hyperbole’.
Hyperbole – noun, Rhetoric.
1.obvious and intentional exaggeration, used to make a point
In essence, the ability of a media source to channel a specified rhetoric to the masses, until they believe it as the norm. The ability to signify Anthony Joshua as the true heavyweight champion of the world.
There is precedent for this, we’ve seen it before, we’re still seeing it now.
Guillermo Rigondeaux was one of the most successful amateur fighters of all time, almost unbeatable during his acclaimed spell in the unpaid ranks, equally unbeatable as a professional.
‘Rigo’ topped lineal 122 pound champion Nonito Donaire in just his twelfth fight, capturing the WBA super and WBO world titles during the process. The talented Cuban went on to hold these titles for over two years, whilst being smartly side stepped by perennial contenders Scott Quigg, Carl Frampton and Leo Santa Cruz for the entirety of his reign.
During the coverage to a proposed clash between Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton over the past two years (which thankfully we are now seeing February 27), the general media have been excellent at failing to recognise the true champion of the division, in pursuit of an agenda built around supporting the winner of a fight between the pair as the greatest of the current super bantamweight stock – but that’s just wrong.
Rigondeaux is the lineal champion at super bantamweight, that fact will remain until he is beaten or retired. The same issue could soon be encountered in the heavyweight division. An agenda, a push – be careful not to get caught out.
Whilst Tyson Fury is currently not aligned to any television network, the ill-informed are extremely persuadable and easily impressionable.
A powerful multimedia juggernaut in Sky, behind arguably the most sought after commodity in boxing, a version of the world heavyweight title around his waist, Joshua could undoubtedly be the future of heavyweight boxing.
A well placed headline, a carefully worded ticker-tape banner, placed on the right channel, at the right time, suddenly the general narrative switches away from Tyson Fury as the true champion of the division.
That in itself is a terrible disservice to Fury’s achievement. It simply mustn’t happen.
This fight is an excellent step-up for Joshua, but it is also worth noting that facing AJ is almost certainly more of a step-up for champion Martin, than it is the other way around.
So whilst I, like many, will be rooting for Joshua to do the unthinkable and win the IBF title in the Spring, bear in mind that Fury is still ‘the Man’ and will continue to be so until he is beaten, regardless of what the media will lead you to believe.
Martin is a step towards the summit, but by no means will Joshua be atop the mountain come midnight on April 9, make up your own mind whether he will get there, don’t let that decision be made for you.