- Anthony Joshua is among top stars headlining Saudi bill on December 23
- But Johnny Nelson was more impressed with Deontay Wilder at press event
- Joshua and Wilder fight on same night – but not each other! Listen to The Hook
Joshua will be headlining a stacked card filled with boxing stars on December 23 in Saudi Arabia alongside Wilder, and there was intrigue as the former world champion lined up alongside the Bronze Bomber – as well as another rival in Jarrell Miller – at the first press conference.
AJ gave off a more aggressive aura than usual and bit back at Miller after a spat between the pair – then stared down at Wilder as the American talked about the possibility of a future fight with him.
Joshua faces Otto Wallin on the card knowing that victory will likely set up a mega fight with Wilder next year – providing he also comes through his bout with Joseph Parker.
Nelson – a pundit for Sky Sports – said Joshua looked ‘on edge’ while being surrounded by ‘egos’ like Wilder and Miller at the Day of Reckoning press event and said he was more impresed with the Bronze Bomber after he appeared relaxed.
Johnny Nelson was more impressed with Deontay Wilder (R) than Anthony Joshua (L) at the Day of Reckoning press conference
Nelson said Joshua seemed ‘on edge’ in the presence of ‘egos’ on the Saudi Arabia card
‘Anthony Joshua was in a room of egos and to be a top tier fighter you’ve got to have a bit of an ego, but when you’re around people who speak their speak and say how it is – you’re not used to it,’ he told the SecondsOut YouTube channel.
‘He’s thinking suddenly, “hang on a minute, you guys are answering me back?” I was more impressed with Wilder – he was the cream that rose to the top. I thought he was cool, he was classy.’
Former cruiserweight champion Nelson claimed Joshua was unsettled by the egos that were around him – but feels the two time world champion needs to be around such fighters to give him his edge back.
Nelson believes Joshua must give off a ‘badman’ persona and develop a ‘rough edge’ to bring his best qualities back – saying fans will see the AJ of old if he has a ‘chip on his shoulder’, and feels being around these fighters will help him do that.
Joshua faces Otto Wallin on December 23 knowing victory could set up a fight with Wilder
‘Joshua] has either got to give that persona of “I’m a badman, I’m not having any of that”, or he was in a room with people who think they’re better than him and are getting adulation and he didn’t like the egos that were there so it put him on edge a bit,’ he added.
‘It’s alright to be the man when you know you’re the man. But when you’re in a room of people and he’s only one of [the men], he’s a bit edgy. That’s what he needs, he needs that chip on the shoulder and the rough edge AJ to come back. That’s the fighter he needs to be. To say “I’ve got something to prove here”.
‘He doesn’t want to go in there thinking “I don’t need to do anything, this is a done deal”. That team of fighters that are there – he’ll make sure he does everything right because eventually it might be against Jarrell Miller, it might be against Wilder.’
When asked for his prediction of Joshua vs Wallin, Nelson said: ‘He beats [Wallin]. AJ is still a top tier top five heavyweight in the world. He beats Wallin and if he doesn’t, he needs to walk away.’