Fans come to see knockouts! Wilder blasts 'hesitant' Joshua

By Sports Desk December 08, 2019

Deontay Wilder has hit out at Anthony Joshua's "dance and grab and jab and hold" approach following the Briton's rematch victory over Andy Ruiz Jr, while suggesting a unification bout between the two heavyweight world champions is unlikely to ever happen.

Having suffered a sensational first career loss when he faced the unheralded Ruiz in June, Joshua reclaimed his WBA, WBO and IBF belts with a degree of comfort in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, keeping his opponent at distance for long periods on his way to a landslide points victory.

However, WBC champion Wilder lamented his rival's lack of aggression.

"Joshua did what he had to do to get the win," Wilder told The Athletic. "He ran around the ring and was on his bike all day. Basically, he had [Wladimir] Klitschko in the camp and he was a lot like Klitschko: that jab-grab-hold method. That's all he did tonight.

"He was so hesitant…Joshua's mentality was to survive. The Klitschko method. You want to dominate guys, man.

"I'm not coming in, after losing to this guy, to just dance and grab and jab and hold. I'm going to show the world and convince them I am the very best and that no one is close to me, especially with what's going on in the division right now. It's a time of proving who is the best.

"How can no one say I'm not the very best in the world now? I've given you what you pay for each and every time, especially when we're talking about a heavyweight bout. Fans come to see knockouts. They come to see something dramatic - a body lying on the canvas, spread like it's having birth. That's what people want to see, and that's my mentality."

A mandatory defence against either Oleksandr Usyk or Kubrat Pulev appears likely to represent Joshua's next task, even though he said he "would love" to face Wilder.

"I don't think we'll ever see a unification bout. We'll never see it, and I don't want people to get their hopes up on it because it'll never happen," said the American.

"His promoter [Eddie Hearn] talks about what they've accomplished, how many people attend, how they sell out this and that, but the thing is, nobody gives a f*** about those statistics and numbers. People want to see your heavyweight in there with our heavyweight! That's it! We're tired of hearing that other s***.

"I'm too dangerous. You've seen what I do in the ring. I don't play around. And they know if Ruiz can get Joshua out of there, imagine [what I could do] …that's why they stayed away from me."

Wilder was also highly critical of Ruiz, who acknowledged he had not prepared seriously enough for the rematch with Joshua after "three months of partying" to celebrate his first win. 

A disgusted Wilder said: "Ruiz said he was doing great [before the fight], not letting this moment get to him, but in the end you hear him saying he ate too much and should've trained harder … like, what the f***? What do you mean you ate too much and could've trained harder?

"I take this s*** seriously. I don't know what their mentality is, but I didn't become champion of the world just to say, 'put me in the record books. At least I can say I was a champion. They can never take that away from me!' 

"I'm here for legacy. Long live the king! That's my mentality, and America should love a world champion like me."

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    Antonio Conte professed to be happy at the sight of Romelu Lukaku getting angry with Zlatan Ibrahimovic during Inter's Coppa Italia win over Milan.

    Inter ultimately triumphed 2-1 thanks to a late Christian Eriksen free-kick, but that does not tell the full story of the match, which Milan initially led thanks to Ibrahimovic.

    The Swede was involved in an altercation with Lukaku just before half-time as the former Manchester United colleagues squared up to each other and went head-to-head – it then continued after the referee ended the first half, with Inter players forced to hold their team-mate back.

    Television footage and audio appeared to show Ibrahimovic yelling at Lukaku: "Go do your voodoo s***."

    That may have been a reference by Ibrahimovic to claims made by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri in January 2018 that Lukaku, who left the Merseyside club six months earlier, strenuously denied.

    After Tuesday's game, Lukaku did not immediately publicly address Ibrahimovic's on-pitch behaviour.

    Inter and Lukaku ultimately had the last laugh, as Ibrahimovic was sent off in the second half and the Belgian equalised from the spot before Eriksen sealed their spot in the semi-finals with a lovely free-kick.

    "If he gets angry every now and then, it just makes me happy," Conte told RAI Sport after the game.

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    "I was pleased to see Romelu so focused. He had a disagreement with someone [Ibrahimovic] who has the wickedness of a winner and a warrior, he does not want to lose. Romelu is growing from this point of view. For us it is important."

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    "You want to speak about my mother?"

    Romelu Lukaku was seething. A yellow card and a stern talking to from referee Paolo Valeri having done nothing to lift the red mist.

    Inter's diminutive playmaker Nicolo Barella attaching himself to Lukaku's torso in a bid to calm the powerhouse striker was one of the more memorable sights of an action-packed first 45 minutes in this Milan derby for a place in the Coppa Italia semi-finals.

    Or the Derby della Madonnina, to give the game its full, grander title. A game that takes its name from a pristine golden statue of the Virgin Mary.

    It seemed for all the world that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had not spoken about Lukaku's mother with such reverence.

    Here was Milan's 39-year-old talisman, who suggested the youthful make-up of the Serie A leaders' XI was a factor in their 3-0 weekend defeat to Atalanta, deciding to display his own brand of leadership in the guise of juvenile schoolyard bully.

    Ibrahimovic's crowing chuckle as mayhem unfurled around him (Arturo Vidal got involved - of course he did - for no apparent reason) was one of a player who had recently enjoyed a familiar feeling for the 499th time in his career.

    Freed from shackles of their knife-edge Scudetto battle, both teams played with freedom and the intent to land a psychological blow. The fact each team had the same idea appeared to irritate all concerned, but it made for great entertainment.

    It is doubtful Antonio Conte would consider such a cavalier selection in league combat as he rolled out on Inter's left flank here. Ivan Perisic was at wing-back, paying as much attention as you'd expect to the part of his position lurking after the hyphen.

    That increased the defensive burden on Aleksandar Kolarov on, a defender who has worn 11 for the bulk of his career. Kolarov's shirt number is a statement of particular intent.

    Ibrahimovic showed he recognised that point of weakness in the 13th minute, when he leapt athletically to meet a Rafael Leao cross, knocking Perisic and Kolarov to the ground in the process. Brahim Diaz was just unable to turn home.

    Kolarov still seemed distracted when he backed off enough for the former Sweden international to fire though his legs and beyond Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

    The script seemed written, goal 500 was surely on the way to take Ibrahimovic closer to yet another piece of silverware. Why not have some fun and wind up the opposition's star man.

    Ibrahimovic's language and his message seemed appalling, with ESPN footage showing him at one point appearing to yell: "Go do your voodoo s***, you little donkey."

    A flaw in the plan to rile Lukaku was the yellow card that Ibrahimovic received for his part in the spat. Not a problem in itself, but in the 58th minute he clumsily and needlessly fouled Kolarov to collect a second booking.

    Displaying none of his vast experience, Ibrahimovic had gone from hero to villain to idiot within half an hour of playing time.

    And so, it was over to the youngsters and backup players who the star striker sometimes seems to consider walk-on extras in his one-man show.

    First there was on-loan defender Fikayo Tomori, who was quickly disabused of the notion he had escaped chaos by leaving Chelsea this week. Thrust into a debut by Simon Kjaer's first-half injury, he made a brilliant last-ditch block to deny Lukaku.

    Alessio Romagnoli and Theo Hernandez defended heroically down the Milan left but reduced numbers forced willing attacking players back to man unfamiliar barricades. Leao was pressed into action and brought down Barella. After consulting the pitchside monitor Valeri pointed to the spot.

    Lukaku has been known to roll his penalties home. On this occasion, he tested the structural integrity of the crossbar and the ball ricocheted into the turf and home. Then there was a shouting match with a team-mate (Yes, Vidal; nope, no idea).

    Enough mayhem? Nonsense. Valeri had to limp out of the action injured. Fourth official Daniele Chiffi looked like he was putting on the microphone and headset for the first time in his life and 10 minutes of stoppage time were required.

    In the seventh of those, wantaway midfielder Christian Eriksen curled home a sumptuous free-kick, leaving Ciprian Tatarusanu no chance to add to his fine catalogue of eight saves.

    Last act for Eriksen? Maybe. Definitely last laugh for Lukaku.

    Ibrahimovic likes to call himself a lion but Tatarusanu and the Milan players he left behind were the lions here, roaring defiantly at wave after wave of Inter attacks before buckling at the last. Nine of Inter's 27 shots were blocked.

    After fatefully dwelling too long in self-parody at the end of the first half, Ibrahimovic owes them an apology, and surely Lukaku is also due one. Perhaps they shouldn't hold their breath.

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    The American seemed to confirm that fight was going ahead in an Instagram post on Sunday.

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