Joshua calls for Wilder to fight tougher opponents

Anthony Joshua has admitted he is not impressed with the quality of Deontay Wilder’s opponents and says boxing fans “want more” from the WBC champion.

The unbeaten American will make the fifth defence of his belt against Gerald Washington in the early hours of Sunday morning, live on Sky Sports.

Wilder, who is recovering from hand and bicep injuries, was forced to contend with a change of opponent as Washington came in as a replacement after Andrzej Wawrzyk failed a drug test.

But IBF title holder Joshua has questioned Wilder’s progression in the professional ranks and believes the 31-year-old still needs to prove himself as a champion.

“I think Wilder needs to fight better opposition,” Joshua exclusively told Sky Sports. “Washington is good, but he’s up and coming still. It was a last minute call-up as well.

“I know his last opponent failed a drugs test unfortunately, but I would love for him to postpone it for another month and get someone who could train for a world championship fight.”

Joshua answered the call for him to raise his level of opposition by agreeing to battle Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium on April 29, live on Sky Sports Box Office, with the vacant WBA ‘super’ title also at stake.

He has urged Wilder to take a similar risk against another top heavyweight, if ‘The Bronze Bomber’ successfully retains his title with a victory over Washington this weekend.

“Wilder has been a professional for around eight to nine years and I want to see a bit more, and there is nothing wrong with that,” said Joshua.

“I’m speaking from a fan’s perspective, because I get it. After three years as a professional, they want more, so after nine years as a fan I’m saying: ‘Wilder we want more from you’, and there is nothing wrong with that.

“Good luck against Washington, but I think the other contenders in the heavyweight division need challenging as well, so I think it would be good for Wilder to force these type of fights, rather than taking easy pickings.”