The former undisputed champion, currently promoting his ‘Evening with Lennox Lewis’ event at The O2 on September 6th, says he’s convinced Joshua was ushered away from a fight with WBC ruler Deontay Wilder by his team.
Despite stating he’d, ‘accept $50m in a heartbeat’, the subsequent Las Vegas / Showtime PPV offer (equating to around 39 million in UK pounds) was rejected by Joshua, who opted instead to sign a two-fight deal with Wembley to fight on home soil.
Lewis, who spent time face-to-face with Wilder recently, is certain Joshua was told to avoid a huge five-belt unification with the American.
“I was with Wilder in Washington last week and it is clear Joshua doesn’t want the fight,” Lewis told Jeff Powell of The Daily Mail.
“He explained to me all the difficulties he is having with Anthony and Eddie, of how AJ is listening to Hearn. Deontay most definitely wants this fight more than any fight.
“Joshua said he would take $50m in a heartbeat but when that offer came he didn’t accept. I would have taken fifty million quicker than a heartbeat and gone through with any fight. But I never ducked anyone.”
Referring to his time under Frank Maloney, and the situation regarding a mandatory with Riddick Bowe during his heydays in the 1990’s, Lewis believes Joshua would be best served to steer his own ship.
“Bowe did everything he could to avoid fighting me but I forced the situation. I did so by ordering my manager Frank Maloney to go out and do whatever it took to make the fight. Yes or yes. No arguments,” he explained,
“Then Riddick had to meet me or vacate. It comes to the point where the boxer has to take over from the manager or promoter as the boss.
“Oscar De La Hoya and me were the first to take charge of our business. I took control of my destiny and opened up my chance for greatness. Anthony needs to do the same with Eddie.
“Apart from Riddick, all the leading heavyweights of our era fought each other. That needs to happen now.
“I was stopped twice (by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman) but that helped me prove my class, by coming back to win the rematches and by becoming world champion again.
“Be prepared to go abroad and fight in other people’s back yards, the way I did. Boxing is about fighting, not poli-tricks,” pointed out Lewis.