Former boxer turned pundit and friend of Anthony Joshua, Spencer Oliver, has been blasted for enabling the former heavyweight champion.
As an emotional Joshua tried to deal with losing for the second time in a row against a superior boxer, Oliver held court, giving the Briton a pep talk.
However, the manner of his words stuck in the throat of many who witnessed it.
Anthony Joshua beat Usyk
Oliver told Joshua: “You outboxed the best f***ing boxer in the world for rounds. You beat him [Usyk] at his own game. Your game plan was perfect.”
The overwhelming consensus worldwide is that this wasn’t the case. Usyk controlled most of the fight, and Joshua was able to win one clear round.
WBN published the fight stats that also back this up. Joshua had a close claim to three other rounds – that was it.
At the losing verdict, Joshua petulantly threw Usyk’s belts out of the ring before embarking on an emotional rant unseen in boxing. The whole scenario left a bad taste in the mouth of non-AJ fans who saw something of a God-like complex from the former champion.
Nonetheless, Oliver continued to side with his pal and add more to what has since gotten labeled ‘enabling’ Joshua’s bad behavior in the aftermath.
“He nicked it just at the end. That fight until ten was dead level. You were outboxing the best boxer in the world.
“Your stock rose, mate. You come out of that with victory. If there were any doubters out there, there are none now. There’s none now.
“Straight back in the gym,” he added.
The pair continued their back and forth, with Joshua saying: “I don’t want to cloud the fight after it. That’s the passion.”
Oliver replied: “That’s emotion. I said that. You didn’t come up short.”
The former European titleholder, who had to retire after almost dying in the ring, then polarized with his comments on the scores.
Not a split decision
A vast majority of those who witnessed the contest didn’t think it was anywhere near a split decision.
Glenn Feldman’s card of 115-113 to AJ has been savagely slated as dead wrong. Even so, Oliver used that as ammunition for Joshua.
“Mate, that was a split decision, and there are massive fights out there for you.”
The response from two professionals in the sport who witnessed the clip, one of which is a Hall of Fame promoter, was matched by many fans.
“No, he didn’t. This is just a** kissing dishonesty. Not fair to boxing, Usyk, or the truth,” said Lou DiBella.
“Not fair to Joshua, who needs the people around him to ground him in reality. How about “You fought a good fight, gave everything you had, and we’re proud of you. You were outboxed by [Usyk]?”
Fed poison to Anthony Joshua
Tureano Johnson, a former middleweight contender who never holds back, gave Oliver a dressing down.
“So true,” he agreed with DiBella. “What that w***er was saying is poison. A fighter needs the truth, not some lunatic delusional pat me up kind of talk.
“To improve, you must accept defeat and know where you went wrong. Then work on it. And why did he box a boxer?
“Do what Anthony Joshua does, not what Usyk does.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.