Sky the limit as Anthony Joshua caps another big year with Royal honour
Two fights, two successful title defenses, and two world champions defeated. Another year in the life of heavyweight ruler Anthony Joshua.
Capping off a fine twelve months (yet again) was a recent Royal acknowledgment for Joshua’s ‘services to sport’ – both as an amateur and a pro.
Coming into boxing late, Joshua has enjoyed a startling rise to the very top. Picking up Olympic golds and no fewer than four world titles along the way.
Receiving an OBE from Prince Charles on Thursday, the pride was apparent from a man who was once a kid in danger of going down the wrong path.
Several scrapes with the law as a youth could have seen the 29 year-old become another statistic of a broken society. But credit to Joshua, he fought for something more.
London 2012 was when the world sat up and took notice of this rough diamond. And when Eddie Hearn stepped in, Joshua came on leaps and bounds.
Working with Tony Sims for the first two years, honing his skills. Robert McCracken eventually took the reigns for a world title run.
Hearn, who took a shine to Joshua from off, spent big to offer his man the chance to win a first world championship.
An unfortunate situation regarding one of his long-term targets, Tyson Fury, saw the IBF strap eventually fall into the hands of American also-ran Charles Martin.
The Matchroom boss saw his chance and wasted no time offering Martin big money for a first defense in the UK.
Since then, Joshua hasn’t looked back.
Just over a year later, the aged Wladimir Klitschko was overcome despite a huge scare in the earlier rounds – to cement Joshua’s place in British boxing folklore.
That defining night will forever be etched in the memory due to excitement and drama which saw the contest swing one way and then the other.
Only eclipsed recently by the Fury’s fight with Deontay Wilder, Joshua still has time on his side and will eventually get his chance at either.
For now, out-pointing Joseph Parker and taking out Alexander Povetkin are both solid victories. Coupled with the fact Joshua once again sold out Wembley Stadium for the second year running.
With a beaming smile and charm your grandmother loves, Joshua has all the ingredients to continue being the top UK star for the foreseeable future.
But if he can eventually agree to face and be able to defeat both Wilder and Fury, Joshua could then go stratospheric and may be able to secure letters before his name, rather than after it.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay