Anthony Joshua has been absolutely melting his way through the heavyweight division. The Watford lad who stands at 6’6” has knocked out all of his 16 opponents to date and the question on the lips of the boxing world now is who can stop him?
Fellow Brit Dillian Whyte came closest two fights back at the O2 Arena, rocking Joshua for the first time, before getting flattened by the fifth.
This was before he became the IBF Heavyweight Champion back in April in a disappointingly easy fight against Charles Martin who came to the ring with a crown on and left embarrassed.
Up next is American IBF contender Dominic Breazeale who will be heading to the champ’s backyard in London. The more cynical boxing fans are pushing for Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn to get him in against bigger names to test him, especially as they are paying to view every one of his fights nowadays. With the heavyweight scene in the midst of a resurgence both domestically and abroad, impatient fans want to see the big fights whilst they can.
With Tyson Fury seen as the undisputed champion facing a rematch against the man eventually dethroned as the champ Wladimir Klitschko, attention is rife. Add into the mix the exciting American Deontay Wilder, Kiwi knockout merchant Joseph Parker and even David Haye who has made a comeback after forays into the celebrity jungle, it is perhaps understandable fans want to see bigger fights.
For Joshua has now proven himself against some decent fighters. Not only proven himself but looked a different level to them. Breazeale is unbeaten but the lack of credible opposition in his victims is notable.
Like many of Joshua’s opponents Breazeale has talked the talk but the odds are stacked against him to walk the walk… vis-à-vis he will probably get mown out in the first two rounds. But people will still buy the fight.
A Joshua fight is like the old Gladiatorial spectacle. You know exactly what is going to happen but it’s compulsive viewing and the raw power is addictive to watch. Eddie Hearn is laughing all the way to the bank and seemingly wants to get his man in front of as many opponents as possible on the ladder to the big crown.
Boxing is big business after all. And can you blame a lad who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks on a council estate in Watford, only laced up gloves for the first time eight years ago, and finds himself in this situation? He has the image, the story and good looks to transcend his sport and it’s not a stretch to say he could be Britain’s most famous boxer ever. But his legacy will be determined by the quality of his opposition.
If Klitschko loses to Fury you’d think the Ukrainian would call it a day. David Haye is already 35 and the longer it takes for him to jump in with Joshua the more people will say he was past his best. And who knows what Fury will do? He could give up the game and start a rap career for all anyone knows!
So the time is now for Joshua. And Breazeale won’t be remembered the day after he gets knocked out.