Even with back-to-back defeats saddled to his record, Anthony Joshua is determined to return to the top of the heavyweight division.
Of course, over the past two years, the former Olympic gold medalist did his best to first defend, then regain his throne, against Oleksandr Usyk. But, despite his dogged personality, Joshua would come up woefully short.
As the former unified heavyweight champion begins his long climb back to the top, Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, has laid out his next logical steps.
The end game for team Joshua would be two gigantic showdowns, one against longtime rival Deontay Wilder and the other against current WBC titlist, Tyson Fury. Prior to those mouthwatering matchups, however, Hearn will look to get Joshua a somewhat softer touch.
With a bevy of options standing before him, Demsey McKean has emerged as a possible option. While McKean continues to play the waiting game, he remains hopeful that he’ll be given the call. In terms of how he views Joshua, having shared numerous sparring sessions together, McKean reveals that, at least in his eyes, Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is still near the top of the heavyweight food chain.
“He’s definitely top five, maybe even top three,” said McKean recently to BoxingScene.com.
Relatively unknown, McKean (22-0, 14 KOs) has done his best to burst onto the world scene. Following a 10th-round stoppage victory over the suddenly surging Jonathan Rice in 2020, McKean parlayed that victory into a productive 2022.
To put a stamp on his undefeated year, McKean made quick work of longtime journeymen, Patrick Korte, stopping his man in the third round. By and large, McKean is well aware that the boxing public is likely unfamiliar with his overall game. So while he patiently waits by the phone, the 32-year-old took the time to expound upon why he’s earned the right to lace em up against one of the heavyweight division’s premier stars.
“I’ve got the full package. I’m a super fit heavyweight, I always come in very well-conditioned. I’m a tricky southpaw and quite fast for a heavyweight and I’ve got good feet as well. Obviously, I haven't fought the competition that these top-level guys have but I’ve been waiting for my time to shine.”
Joshua, 32, has appeared unmoved by whomever could be his next foe. Although he’s anxious to saunter through an arena with his adoring fans chanting his name, ultimately, the goal is to improve.
Still, regardless of the hulking heavyweight seeking yet another trainer change, McKean isn’t unnerved over the new wrinkles in Joshua’s game. In McKean’s mind, Joshua’s need to enhance his all-around skills will do little to assist him if an all-out boxing match breaks out.
“I know for a fact I’m a better boxer than AJ. I’m a lot more mobile, a lot slicker. I’m a lot harder to hit so I know I can definitely outbox him.”