MA in Sports Journalism at St Mary's University

Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

“Joshua will beat Wilder. He’s a better complete package”: Mark Seltzer on the most important fight of Anthony Joshua’s career

Anthony Joshua’s corner man, Mark Seltzer, is huge in the boxing scene. He’s the man stood behind the biggest names in British boxing.

He’s the man with the inside scoop. The man who walks step-by-step with fighters right up to the ropes, those four corners of truth, before they unleash their raw power onto the world.  

Before Joshua, Seltzer was cut man for Carl Froch.

He is part of the force behind every punch, every jab and every KO.

So when he says Joshua will take that WBC title from USA’s Deontay Wilder with a fierce, piercing certainty, it is like the belt has already found a new home here in Britain.

“I don’t want to give too much away regarding Wilder, but we [team Joshua] feel technically he’s not as rounded as Anthony Joshua is.

“He [Wilder] is fast, he’s got power which you have to respect, but in terms of technical all-round ability, we feel Anthony Joshua is more-rounded.

“We will expose Wilder’s inadequacies on the night.”

Wilder is not going to hand over his belt quietly, so Joshua will need to pull out all the stops if he wants to knock out the Bronze Bomber.

He can’t show any signs of weakness.

Seltzer is adamant he won’t despite that recent nose injury Joshua sustained from Carlos Takam’s headbutt at last month’s fight in Cardiff.

The gushing of blood from Joshua’s nose made it look much worse than it was:

“He’ll be fine. He’s had a number of prognoses from a number of doctors and surgeons and it actually was just very bad bruising – there was no break. No cartilage issues so he’s got a tough nose.”

With only seven weeks left of this year, he’ll need it to be strong if he’s going to be fighting any time in early 2018.

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Seltzer mentions the possibility of a showdown with New Zealand heavyweight, Joshua Parker, before AJ faces Wilder.

It will be a good opportunity to add Parker’s WBO title to his name and give Wilder all the more reason to fear Joshua come the summer.

“Everyone wants to fight the golden goose and that’s Anthony Joshua at the moment, so we’re confident of making a deal for that fight.

“I think what we were initially looking at was Parker and then Wilder.

“Probably looking at an April date for the WBO title and then that culminates in an all-belts clash against Wilder at the latter end of the summer.”

When that time comes, and it is coming, the question of where this “all-belts clash” will take place is another matter.

Will the bright lights of Vegas be enough to tempt AJ, Seltzer and Eddie Hearn to hop across the pond? Seltzer says it all comes down to percentages – and the UK fans.

He says the casinos will have to put enough money on the table to cover the kind of revenue a fight at Wembley would bring in.

It is not an easy task considering the difference between a 25,000-seater venue in Vegas compared to a 90,000 sell-out here in the UK. If they want to host possibly the best heavyweight fighter in the world, they’ll need to come up with the funds.

Money is not the only factor:

“Ideally, we’d like to put it on over in the UK for the fans.”

Often what the fans want, the fans get – right? Wrong. Many fans felt the last fight against Takam was stopped prematurely when the referee called off the fight in the 10th round.

The echoes of boos and jeering from the crowd were just the beginning of an entourage of abuse from fans worldwide.

Seltzer agreed with the referee’s decision, though, likening it to the technical stoppage in the ‘Battle of Britain’ – when Carl Froch fought George Groves in Manchester in November 2013:

“I was looking up from the ring apron and his eyes rolled into the back of his head when he fell forward.

“He protested when it was stopped but Howard Foster [referee] saved him from a really bad KO in my opinion and consequently a bigger pay day at Wembley.

“I think this stoppage was very similar. I think Takam was going to get stopped in that round.

“He was taking a lot of punishment and I think ultimately that round would have been his last. I think it was stopped at the right time.

“The public want to see the barbaric knock out. A lot of fight fans want to see that but, no, Takam lives to fight another day.”

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