World Boxing News examines what continues to tie boxing rivals Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua together.
Whether they like it or not, Wilder and Joshua are now tied together with a common bond in the heavyweight division.
In 2017, the pair enjoyed being rated one and two worldwide for two years. That’s until a certain Tyson Fury came roaring back.
Unlike Joshua, Wilder stepped up to the plate as Fury began to be recognized as the man who beat the man once again.
His British rival took what was perceived to be the easy option and signed on to fight Jarrell Miller. Then more ominously, Andy Ruiz Jr.
After Wilder scored an enthralling draw with Fury, ‘The Bronze Bomber’ made a couple of impressive defenses.
Retaining his WBC title for the ninth and tenth time, Wilder was riding the crest of a wave.
“Both guys, Dominic Breazeale, he’s a brave soul. No matter his skill level, he’s coming to give his best,” said Wilder.
“He’s fought at this level before. He competed for the heavyweight title back. That was his second time around.
“So I got him out of the first round.
“With Luis Ortiz, he took on another level, as he may not be the boogeyman to me. But he’s the boogeyman to the rest of the heavyweight division.
“That’s for sure because nobody still to this day is calling his name, trying to fight him.”
Deontay Wilder plays catch-up
At the same time, AJ headed into a summer debut in the United States in a highly confident mood. So much so that he let Ruiz Jr. hold his title belts before they met.
But it proved a mistake for the Londoner as Joshua was crushed in seven rounds for underestimating the Mexican’s puncher.
This is where they subsequently share a disaster, as Wilder also suffered his first loss in the seventh round to Fury just eight months later.
Both were dropped more than once, and both suffered to come to terms with being stopped.
Joshua regained his straps just six months later when Ruiz partied too much. On the other hand, Wilder has to wait far longer due to the straps being tied up.
He can move closer if he beats Ruiz, an ordered WBC eliminator.
Whatever the future holds, Joshua and Wilder would never have thought they’d be in the position where they’d both lose their heavyweight crown within months of each other.
It’s now up to Wilder to see if he can match Joshua’s feat of becoming a two-time champion. The clock is ticking, but will they ever face each other?