Anthony Joshua is the poster boy for British heavyweight boxing and is tightening his grip on the sport’s top division, moving swiftly towards world domination. The 28-year-old Londoner seems to have it all, power, athleticism, speed and he’s shrewd when dealing with the media.
The current IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO champion still has a way to go before he can be mentioned alongside past greats such as Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield, but there’s no doubt he’s heading in the right direction.
Heading into Saturday’s bout with Russian Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium, Olympic gold medalist AJ boasts a professional record of 21-0-0, 20 of his victories coming inside the distance. A 95% KO average will strike fear into future opponents, many beaten before they emerge from their corner at the opening bell.
He’s red-hot favourite in the latest heavyweight boxing betting to beat Russian Vityaz in front of an adoring public. Here are three fights that prove why Joshua is top of the tree…
Without doubt, the champion’s best performance to date and he answered his critics that night at Wembley by lasting into the later rounds, hauling himself off the canvas and stopping one of the greatest heavyweights of the modern era.
In this thrill-a-minute scrap, Anthony knocked the towering Russian down in the fifth round and looked to be coasting but was caught himself a round later, dumped on the seat of his pants. Many thought he’d suffer his first defeat, Klitschko’s experience shining through, but it didn’t work out that way.
The Englishman dug deep to drop Dr Steelhammer twice in round 11 before referee David Fields waved the fight off.
This bout will be remembered as one of the most bitter all-British heavyweight tussles in years. There was no lack of needle in the build-up to this crossroads bout with the winner promised a short-cut to the big money, the loser left to battle his way through the domestic division.
In the end, it was Joshua who came out on top, settling the feud with a seventh-round TKO but it was far from plain sailing. With British, Commonwealth and WBC International straps on the line, it was all or nothing and Whyte showed the stomach for a fight, hurting his long-term rival.
Many thought Dillian was within one well-timed punch of landing a knockout win but he couldn’t find the decisive shot when it mattered. Joshua didn’t have the same problem, landing a sickening right uppercut to force the stoppage.
Not his best performance to date, but certainly one of his most important wins.
You won’t hear many followers of the heavyweight scene spent too much time on this fight but it’s important as it was the first time AJ took on an opponent with ambitions of his own. Gary Cornish is a towering Scotsman who went in undefeated – has lost only once since – but he was upright for only a matter of seconds.
Joshua exploded out of the traps, delighted to see Cornish keen to engage. 1.37 into round one the man from Inverness had been down twice and wasn’t in a rush to get back involved. Referee Victor Laughlin had no hesitation ending it early.