Anthony Joshua heads into his first defence of all three of his heavyweight titles on Saturday in a fight many believe will spawn the 20th stoppage of the Briton’s 100% KO record.
‘AJ’ battles late replacement Carlos Takam at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium as the Cameroonian bids to become the first man in six years to halt Joshua.
That last honor went to Eastern European puncher Mihai Nistor at the 2011 European championships in Ankara just one year before Joshua won gold in London and eventually terrorized the heavyweight ranks.
“It was a special day, my trainer told me not to worry, Joshua is big but he’ll go down quickly if you punch him correctly,” Nistor recalled in an interview with the BBC prior to Joshua’s fight with Wladimir Klitschko in April.
“I didn’t know who he was or what he was going to become, he was a good boxer, he was moving all the time and he had a strong punch.
“I beat him in 2011 and in 2012 he was an Olympic champion,” he added.
Joshua’s reign in the amateur ranks wasn’t as domineering as his time as a pro, with the Nistor loss one of three defeats for the IBF, WBA and IBO king in 43 contests.
A later-comer to boxing, Joshua seems to have found the formula for success though and many predict only Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder could come close to ending his exceptional run.
Whilst Fury is out of action with no return yet in sight, Wilder has been calling for a match-up with Joshua for years and could get his wish in 2018.
For Nistor, the Romanian never set foot on the paid platform and lost out in those famous 2011 Euro’s, the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers and the 2016 Olympic tournament itself when he eventually made it in 2016.