Salford’s Jamie Moore is enjoying life as a Sky Sports pundit as it means that he gets to do a job that he loves and he can keep a keen eye on the British boxing scene. The former British, Commonwealth and European light-middleweight Champion has seen IBF heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua MBE up close and personal at ringside on more than one occasion and was there on Saturday night when “AJ” bludgeoned Eric Molina into defeat in three one-sided rounds at the Manchester Arena.
“Mooresy” was a firm fans favourite during his career, Joshua is also piquing the interest of British boxing fans and is set to meet former world Champion Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in April, with promoter Eddie Hearn hoping to pack 90,000 fans into the venue for a crossroads heavyweight encounter.
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It is a big step up for the IBF holder, who won the belt by beating Charles Martin in April and has reeled off two defences—the first one was a TKO win over Dominic Breazeal in June—but Moore believes that the 18-0 (18 KOs) Londoner has the potential to grab the division by the scruff of the neck before Tyson Fury returns to the sport following his recent fight with depression and an alleged failed drugs test.
“I do, I think he’s doing the right thing by taking himself away from boxing to fix whatever issues he’s got before coming back,” Moore told Britishboxers when asked if Fury’s sabbatical is the right move.
“Him coming back is a must, though, and I think he will do it. By the time he comes back, the Joshua-Klitschko situation will have played out and we’ll have had David Haye against Tony Bellew so we’ll see who comes through that fight and how they look.
“By that point hopefully Tyson is getting ready to come back because we he is the Number One until someone beats him. If he returns, you can’t be regarded as Number One, but in the meantime we need a consensus champion. Some think that [WBC holder] Deontay Wilder is around and about that point yet I’d go for Klitschko in this moment in time.
“Fury beat Wlad, but Wlad didn’t look shot, so I’d have him as number one, then Wilder at number two as he has a slightly better resume than Anthony at this moment in time. Get a Klitschko win under Joshua’s belt and he will overtake them. So it is still Fury at the top with other names in the mix, if they all sort themselves out in the meantime then who knows?
“Fury against Klitschko was the new kid on the block meeting the former Champion who passed on the torch, now with him out of the equation it put a lot of titles back up for grabs and I see a similar scenario unfolding with Joshua. People will ask if it is a little too early for him or whether he is getting Klitschko at the ideal time.”
With the fight set, barring injuries or delays, it is now a question of whether Klitschko’s ring smarts and experience can trump Joshua’s desire, youth and power. Will the former Champion prove too canny for the younger man?
“If I had to bet on it I’d go for Joshua, it must be so hard for Klitschko to get motivated at this point—then again he’s sparred with Joshua so he knows he has the youth and enthusiasm coming through,” stated Moore.
“At this point, I’d probably go with Joshua, but if Klitschko is anything like he was may two or three years ago then he’d probably beat Joshua. It is a tough one.”
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Moore stormed into the ring to the sound of sirens and with a scowl on his face during his pomp, a look that belied his friendly, affable persona outside the ring. Joshua flips the script in a similar way, he seems all smiles outside the ring but doesn’t let his man off the hook inside it. Moore told me that there is an edge to the former Olympian and we are starting to see glimpses of it.
“I like the fact that he is laid back yet in the last few fights we’re seeing more spite from him,” he said. “Every now and again you see the edginess come out, as we saw towards the end of the press conference when he spoke directly to Molina. He is cool, calm and collected, but there is a forcefulness to the way he does things. Joshua won’t just act out for the sake of it.
“The big thing about him, and what people like, is that he is so humble. After the open workouts, he spent a few hours with fans taking photos—stuff like that goes a long way with fans. We saw it in the Ricky Hatton era, he was the lad next door and people can relate to that and relate to Joshua in the same way and I think that’s the reason he is popular.”
He added: “I want him to stay exactly the way he is. He’s cool, calm and composed outside the ring then explosive in it.”