Will Anthony Joshua be the greatest ever British heavyweight?
Great Britain has produced many of the greatest fighters in the history of boxing with genuine world champions. The heavyweight division is widely regarded as the most exciting in boxing and showcases the very best of pugilism, so it’s always important to have good contenders available. Over the years, Great Britain has had a steady flow of title holders from Frank Bruno in the 1980s through to Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua in 2021.
Joshua, still only 31, has had a challenging time over recent years, but despite that he is still the WBA, IBF and WBO title holder which demonstrates the high expectation on the puncher’s ability. Joshua’s upcoming fight against Oleksandr Usyk will be a perfect opportunity for Joshua to dispel myths that he’s reached his peak and it’s a good idea to take advantage of bookie offers to back the British fighter to knock out his Ukrainian foe.
Joshua broke onto the boxing scene back in 2012 as an amateur when he participated in the London Olympic games for Team GB. Joshua dominated the Super-Heavyweight division and took home Gold to put him in the forefront of the nation’s hearts and minds.
The Watford born striker turned professional in 2013 and only had to wait a year before he won his first belt, the WBC International heavyweight title, in his ninth professional fight against Denis Bakhtov. Joshua would go unbeaten for the first six years of his career, becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world by unifying the titles in 2017 with a victory over Wladimir Klitschko. Already the nation’s sweetheart, Joshua gained more followers in the historic bout as Klitschko was seen as Joshua’s first significant threat and despite being rocked early in the fight, the 6’6’’ pugilist maintained composure and after multiple knockdowns, the fight was stopped in the 11th round to give Joshua his 19th consecutive victory by stoppage.
On 25th September 2021, Joshua will be favourite to defeat Usyk as he looks to take his career record to 25 wins from 26 bouts. Joshua’s style as a brutal knockout specialist will be tested against the Ukrainian, but with over 90% of his wins ending by KO/TKO, Joshua will be aiming to have the fight finished before the final bell.
The greatest British fighter is currently considered to be Lennox Lewis. Lewis showed the way for Joshua as he also won Gold at the Olympic games before going on to control the Heavyweight division and unify the titles. With 41 wins from 44 fights, Lewis reigned supreme for over a decade.
Lewis fought the best contenders in the Heavyweight division time and again, beating the likes of Frank Bruno, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and even Vitali Klitschko. Lewis was never accused of ducking any fights or avoiding potential opponents, which is something Joshua has had to contend with.
Joshua has fought significant fighters such as Klitchscko, but he’s been accused of dodging rivals who pose the most threat to him. Rumours of a potential Tyson Fury matchup have rumbled for years but despite the conversations, the Fury camp believe Joshua is running scared of the Gypsy King. American Deontay Wilder is also seen as one of the premier stars of the division with his raw power which could prove a threat to Joshua, but no action from the Joshua camp has been taken to make this fight happen.
Joshua will believe he has what it takes to become even more imperious that Lewis was and he’s well on his way to demonstrating it. The Orthodox boxer will have to beat the best in order to become the best and whilst it’s difficult to see him dethroning Lewis as the greatest British boxer of all-time at the moment, victories over Fury and Wilder would prove he’s certainty the best of his generation.