Anthony Joshua has arguably been the face of British heavyweight boxing since 2012 with his fights being a global attraction on the back of his Olympic gold medal success in London. With a professional record of 24-3, and 22 of those wins coming by way of knockout, AJ has won the WBA, WBO, IBF, and IBO heavyweight championships since turning pro after the games. The former champion hasn’t had the results that he would have wanted in his recent contests. Of course, the fights I am talking about are his losses to current heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk. Now Joshua looks to rebuild himself as he is set to face Jermaine Franklin on the first weekend of April. This means that it is the perfect time to look at Joshua’s best moments in the ring.
Winning the Olympic gold at London 2012
This was a crowning moment for Joshua’s glowing amateur career as he reached arguably the top of the mountain by winning the Olympic gold. What made this achievement more special is that it was in front of his home crowd in London. The London 202 games could be seen to be the first time Joshua was introduced to the mainstream British audience. He won the gold medal by beating Roberto Cammarelle who didn’t end up going professional. The fight was contested at 91kg which was in the super heavyweight division. Joshua’s medal was the 65th medal for the GB team, this contributed to one of Britain’s most successful games in history. There is a strong correlation between winning medals at the Olympics and having a successful professional career. Examples of fighters who followed this path are Luke Campbell, Joe Joyce, and Amir Khan. This win foreshadowed the professional success that the former heavyweight champion has enjoyed throughout his career.
Making his professional debut
Following his success at the Olympics in London, Joshua made his professional debut at the O2 arena in October 2013. He took on an undefeated boxer in Emanuele Leo, where he stopped the Italian fighter in the first round by TKO. Stopping a fighter is somewhat of a theme throughout the 33-year-old’s career. This is because Joshua has 22 knockouts out of his 24 fights. The win would mark the fighter from Watford’s first professional victory and would go on to tear up the heavyweight division. It was also the catalyst for one of the best heavyweight runs in the history of British Boxing.
Claiming his first world title
Three years on from his impressive debut in 2013, Joshua would fight for his first world championship. He took on Charles Martin for the IBF World Heavyweight Title at London’s O2 arena. He proved that night that he was levels above the American. This was illustrated by Joshua securing a knockout victory in the second round of a scheduled 12. This would lay the foundation for Joshua’s quest to be undisputed champion. It was also the night he proved he wasn’t just a British star; he was also a global star as well.
A legacy fight with Wladimir Klitschko
As previously stated, after his victory over Martin which saw Joshua gain the IBF World Heavyweight Title, he wanted tobecome undisputed heavyweight champion. This led him to fight one of the greatest to ever do it Klitschko. The two met in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium as Joshua defended his IBF title. However, the vacant titles at the time were also up for grabs, those titles were the WBA Super World Heavyweight and IBO World Heavyweight titles. It was an incredibly entertaining contest with Joshua stopping the former champion. The bout won the ‘fight of the year’ award from many different media outlets. That night Joshua beat a true legend of the sport and cemented his legacy inboxing.
Regaining his spot at the top
In the summer of 2019 Andy Ruiz Jr shocked the world when he stopped the undefeated champion in the fourth round to win Joshua’s titles. This led to the two rematching in Saudi Arabia of December that year. The were a lot of questions regarding Joshua’s mental state going into the fight after suffering his first loss. He proved all of the critics wrong with a dominant display which resulted in a unanimous decision victory. This showed that Joshua had the mental fortitude to bounce back after a defeat. Joshua would go on to defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev before losing to Usyk.
Joshua is currently coming off two losses to Usyk which means he is now looking to make another run at the title. He faces a tough challenge in Jermaine Franklin with hopes that a win will put him back in the title conversation.