Joshua has endured a challenging couple of years since winning back his IBF, WBA and WBO world titles from Andy Ruiz in a rematch of their first fight in which he was on the wrong end of a shocking upset.
His first fight after that in December 2020 was what many saw as a laboured knockout win over the ageing Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round. He then took back-to-back losses over 24 rounds to talented Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk and had something of an outburst in the ring afterwards which suggested his mental state was unsettled.
Since then he has had routine if unsensational wins against Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius, both of which have set him up for this third and final fight of 2023 against Otto Wallin.
It comes on a huge card in Saudi Arabia alongside the likes of Deontay Wilder versus Joseph Parker, Daniel Dubois versus Jarrell Miller and several more and will be Joshua’s first fight under latest trainer Ben Davison.
Speaking to Boxing King Media, Sky pundit Nelson has now said he thinks Joshua choosing Davison could be a bad sign.
“I could be wrong but if AJ has chosen Ben Davison to be his coach, to stay at home, I think he’s cutting corners. And if he’s cutting corners at this stage it tells me his ambition to be the best has gone, to pay for the best, to work for the best, it tells me he’s just biding time just to get through this fight.”
Nelson then said he is worried Joshua is underestimating his opponent with this move and that it could lead to the end of his career.
“He’s making the same mistake again, he’s underestimating the man in front of him and he will get turned over. He did it with Ruiz the first time. Don’t make the same mistake again. That’s not a good sign from a man who wants to be the three-time champion of the world. He’s making up the numbers, he’s getting through it and I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year he was done.”
Joshua will be hoping that Nelson is wrong and that he can get through Otto Wallin and finally secure a huge fight with Deontay Wilder in 2024, although a common opponent of both men, Eric Molina, advises against that.