Anthony Joshua - novice to knockout in ten years
Boxing

Anthony Joshua - novice to knockout in ten years

30 April 2017 / 13:58

It has been quite a rise for Anthony Joshua, with the 27-year-old going from boxing novice to four-time heavyweight champion of the world in just seven years.

He stopped off on the way to win a World Championship silver medal in 2011, an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and finish his first 18 professional bouts inside the distance before stopping Wladimir Klitschko in dramatic fashion in front of 90,000 raucous fans at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night.

What the pundits said after last night:

Ronald McIntosh – boxing commentator

"What an epic display of determination and guts from both fighters.

"Joshua was put on the floor for the first time in his career and he got through that test.

"We have to ask, is it the end of the road for Klitschko or do we want to see it again?"

Richie Woodhall – three-time former WBC super-middleweight champion

"There comes a time in a boxer's life where no amount of training or sparring will help.

"There comes a time where it comes from within. It is DNA, or whatever you want to call it.

"Those punches came from the depths of his soul."
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Tony Bellew – two-time former WBC cruiserweight champion

"He is the best heavyweight in the world, make no bones about that. Absolutely no question.

“He is the number one, he has no questions to answers. He is no longer the king of British boxing, he is the king of the boxing world.

"I did say in the build-up that when he gets caught by hard, clean shot, it could be a problem, but he answered that by being put on the floor.”

Carl Froch – ten-time former super-middleweight champion

"It was almost impossible what he did – but he did it. All that training, all that sparring he put himself through the gym, all that pain was worth it.

"He dethroned an old, admittedly, but still a king in Wladimir Klitschko.

“To get put down and then somehow get up will make him a better fighter, no doubt about it.
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“We're talking about heavyweight boxing, when it can only take one punch, but him getting up proved he is better than a lot of people expected.”

How we got here

Joshua only laced up a pair of gloves for the first time as an 18-year-old in 2007 at Finchley ABC, and three years later he was already the senior English heavyweight champion in just his 18th fight.

After reportedly turning down £50,000 to turn pro, he went on to become part of the GB Boxing set-up and duly fought his way to the British amateur title the same year.

The following year he failed to get on the podium at the European Championships, but his development continued and later that year he took home a silver medal from the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Azerbaijan.

He first hit the national spotlight at London 2012, though, as he produced a stunning final round comeback to beat Italy’s two-time World Champion Roberto Cammarelle and win superheavyweight gold – Team GB’s final gold medal of a record-breaking Games.
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Having spurned the chance to turn pro two years earlier, stating he wanted to win medals for his country, after making good on his promise he took the decision and departed the GB Boxing set-up in search of belts.

His professional debut came on October 5, 2013, at the O2 Arena on the undercard of a Scott Quigg WBA super-bantamweight title defence, with Joshua stopping Italy’s Emanueelue Leo in the first round.

Boxing in arenas up and down Great Britain, Joshua rapidly improved his record to 8-0 before he won the vacant WBC International heavyweight title by stopping Russia’s Denis Bakhtov in the second round of his ninth pro fight.

In his first 13 fights Joshua had not been pushed beyond the third round, and that trend continued in win number 14 of his career as he took the Commonwealth Heavyweight title by defeating Britain’s Gary Cornish – again at the O2 Arena.

It was in his 16th fight that the then 26-year-old got his first shot at a bona fide world title, and he quickly delivered with a second-round stoppage of America’s Charles Martin on April 9, 2016, to take the IBF heavyweight belt at what was quickly becoming his home stomping ground, the O2 Arena.

Martin’s fellow American Dominic Breazeale gave the champ his biggest test to date just two months later, but Joshua stopped him in the seventh in front of another packed O2 Arena crowd.
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A third American in succession made the trip over the Atlantic in late 2016, and Eric Molina went home defeated just like his compatriots as the Joshua roadshow moved to the Manchester Arena and he got the job done inside three rounds.

So, after two defences of his IBF belt, he moved up in the world to take on Ukraine’s Klitschko.

The fight would be Joshua’s second at Wembley Stadium, but unlike his sixth professional bout where his win over Matt Legg was overshadowed by the Carl Froch v George Groves rematch that led the bill, he was now the main event.

In front of 90,000 fans he was truly tested for the first time in his career, Klitschko introduced him to the canvas for the first time in his professional career and the jelly legs also made a maiden appearance.

But on a night of firsts, it was Joshua’s record that remained intact, as the 27-year-old produced a stunning 11th-round barrage to floor Klitschko twice and leave the referee no choice but to stop the fight and award it to the Brit, along with the WBA belt to add to the IBF one he already owns.

Joshua in his own words

"I knew it was possible to hurt him, but I am learning round by round. I'm learning under the bright lights,” said the Watford-born boxer.

"I don't come to box, I come to hurt people. With all due respect, I came to hurt him. At the end of the day, I figured out what I had to do and got him done.

"I'm coming back to Wembley. I'll look forward to seeing you here again. There's been many a time in training when we go into the 11th round and I'm tired but I know I have to keep it up because I have to go the distance.

"I showed that fights are won in the gym. It gets tough and boxing isn't easy. You have to have the whole package."

Sportsbeat 2017

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