Boxing fans have reacted with a deluge of derision after British champion Anthony Joshua was revealed as a playable character in video game FIFA 21, including fans invoking the unmistakable insult of his leading rival, Tyson Fury.
FIFA lovers and boxing bigmouths have been quick to deliver a resounding pummeling to creators EA Sports’ decision to give Joshua a novelty role in the new edition of the hit game, in which he will be available in a shirt bearing his familiar personal branding.
Ahead of Joshua’s scheduled defense of his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO titles against Kubrat Pulev in December in a fight that could take place behind closed doors, some cynics used the marketing match-up to take shots at his record and ringcraft.
“He’s good at running,” said a supporter of Alex Povetkin, the Russian heavyweight knocked out by Joshua in 2018 before demolishing another of the Londoner’s rivals, Dillian Whyte, with a shuddering uppercut when they met last month.
Anthony Joshua will feature as a playable character in the new EA Sports FIFA 21 game within the ‘Volta Football’ mode. pic.twitter.com/UQbXs20eex
The big stiff idiot would be hopeless at volta
The big stiff plays soccer?
“Right up his alley,” they added, alluding to Joshua’s seemingly slow recent training footage and cautious performance that saw him reclaim his titles by avenging the first defeat of his career when he beat Andy Ruiz Jr on points in December.
Joshua’s place on the illustrious list of ‘Groundbreakers’ in the game, which includes the boxer as one of only two non-footballers alongside DJ Diplo, left many unimpressed.
“The big stiff plays soccer?” asked one respondent, echoing the description by Tyson Fury, Joshua’s British rival and the holder of the WBC belt, of the likes of his countryman as “big stiff idiots”.
The two time unified world champion Olympic gold medalist is a trash boxer?
So EA have the license for AJ but use it in a UFC game and a football game.
Fury has repeatedly claimed that Joshua, who he could face in two “megafights” in 2021 should they both win their scheduled fights later this year, lacks the mobility and boxing skills to beat him.
Others asked why the game producers were yet to produce a boxing game featuring Joshua and insisted that the creators concentrated on improving their designs rather than creating a likeness of the 30-year-old.
“Why the f*ck?” demanded one. “In today’s world, anything with money is acceptable.
Tyson fury will feature him as a punching bag
His team are doing a mazza. He’s in every game and advert going at the moment.
“He has nothing to do with football and is probably trash at it just like in boxing.”
Joshua has previously featured in an EA title that is somewhat closer to his chosen discipline.
He is available to fight with on UFC 4, where the description of his skills is somewhat more generous than his detractors.
“Hailing from Britain, he has quickly established himself as one of the dominant finishers in boxing,” EA said of his record, noting his “heavy hands” and “calculating and confident” style.