Boxing

Everyone’s Gone Crazy at Heavyweight

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There are a few takeaways from Saturday’s 3-belt heavyweight title fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. One of them is that this current crop of top heavyweights is downright nuts.

Oleksandr Usyk, who defeated former champ Anthony Joshua for the second straight time via decision, looks crazy with his bald head, mohawk/tail on the very top of that bald head, and piercing serial killer eyes, but he’s actually the sanest of the lot. Everyone else, though? Man. They’re nuttier than squirrel turds.

Ex-champ Joshua secured his spot atop the loco lot with his antics immediately after his loss to Usyk on Saturday.

After the decision was announced, Joshua would grab two of Usyk’s belts from one of the corner men, hold them up, and toss them out of the ring in disgust. He then stormed out of the ring only to stop, turn around, and come back into the ring, where he asked for the mic. What followed was an odd, cringe-worthy moment, even for a sport full of odd, cringe-worthy moments.

“Usyk, one hell of a f*****g fighter, let’s give him a round of applause. That’s just emotion…Look, if you knew my story, you would understand my passion,” Joshua told a quiet, slightly confused crowd at the Jeddah Superdome. “I ain’t no f*****g amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from a youth. I was going to jail…I got bail and started training my a** off, because if I got sentenced, I wouldn’t be able to fight…

“The f*****g passion we put into this shit, man. This guy, to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the levels of hard work he must have put in, so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world. Woo! Mother*****r!

“I’m not a 12-round fighter. Look at me! I’m a new breed of heavyweights. All them heavyweights– Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey. ‘Oh, you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano.’ ‘Cause I ain’t f*****g 14 stone, that’s why! I’m 18 stone and I’m heavy! It’s hard work! This guy here is a phenomenal talent.”

Joshua would also break down in tears in the post-fight press conference, which was a significantly less nutso reaction to a tough defeat than tossing belts, storming rings, and delivering an odd, all-over-the-place, self-pitying monologue on live TV.

WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, meanwhile, has shown himself, in his own way, to be just as unstable as Joshua. The big Irishman, who holds the one belt Usyk doesn’t hold, has, in the span of less than two weeks, retired, un-retired, re-retired, and, following Saturday’s Usyk-Joshua bout, re-un-retired.

“Both of them were sh***!” Fury said via social media. “It was one of the worstest heavyweight title fights I have ever seen! It was bull****! I would annihilate both of them on the same night. F*****g s****! Get your f*****g checkbook out, because ‘The Gypsy King’ is here to stay forever!”

And right before all this went down, former WBC champ Deontay Wilder emerged from his own dark place to make his presence felt once again.

Wilder, who is officially 0-2-1 in three bouts against Tyson Fury, seemed to be going off the deep end following his first TKO loss to “The Gypsy King” back in February of 2020.

“The Bronze Bomber” would dive deep into conspiracy theory land when he blamed that loss on everything from too-heavy ring walk attire that tired his legs to a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal his belt that involved Team Fury, doctored gloves, the referee, and even his own assistant trainer. Quoting Bible passages and making ominous-sounding threats on social media in the lead-up to his third bout with Fury, he would be stopped again and sent into silence for a good, long while.

Back and scheduled to face Robert Helenius in October, Wilder looks to be more in control and, for lack of a better word, saner. But there’s still that glimmer in his eyes…

Anyway, the heavyweight division, right now, is not at its very best. But with three volatile personalities among the top four or five, it’s certainly going to be interesting in the immediate future.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com