Anthony Joshua finally ripped away his usual moniker on Saturday night, as his previous mantra dropped.
Nothing about what happened post-fight was Joshua ‘Staying Humble’ in any way, shape, or form.
AJ has made millions from his man of the people persona with the UK public alongside his promoter Eddie Hearn.
But this was too raw and too close to the bone as Usyk looked bemused at what transpired.
Hearn and Joshua began their attempts to make a name for themselves in around 2010. And despite having a massive PR budget, they haven’t landed on the good side of the USA.
There was always something that was a bit off. From honest remarks about other promoters to Joshua’s questionable social media activity, some of it didn’t ring true.
Sadly, it took a decade for the British public to see Joshua’s true emotions as he lost his cool completely.
In the USA, they don’t really buy into the Hearn and Joshua philosophy.
The blueprint stateside is that if you put bums on seats and are an entertainer, you earn the right to be Pay Per View and have those perks.
Joshua, unfortunately for him, was rammed down the British public’s throats due to the success of the London 2012 Olympics.
Despite questions about him not even winning the final, Joshua took the gold and a ticket to be whatever he wanted in the UK moving forward.
After a year of listening to promotional offers, the Watford man signed with Hearn.
AJ must have thought he had hit the jackpot, feeling loved due to months of pursuit and monetary offers. And when it comes to his bank balance, he probably did merely because of Sky Sports.
He chose a squeaky-clean image that most who knew Joshua didn’t fit at all.
In the hearts of any true British boxing fan, that’s where it all went wrong. Joshua went into the same “Marmite” bracket as Hearn on the channel fresh from the Audley Harrison PPV debacle.
Joshua had to ride or die with Hearn, which included comparisons to Muhammad Ali as he sold Pay Per Views.
Either Hearn is a great salesman. But when it comes to boxing, many stateside believes he knows nothing about the sport on that side of the pond.
Joshua was limited from the start. We all knew that, but Hearn managed to take him to heights that most knew would come off in the wash.
For that alone, you’d have to give Hearn props. The only question is, if AJ was so great – as Hearn professes, why didn’t he make it across the Atlantic?
That’s about all you need to know.
It can be argued that Joshua should have signed with an American promoter to get away from the Olympic achievement, which at best was a silver. But embarking on the second coming of the most charismatic heavyweight of all time when you probably didn’t even deserve the gold turned out to be a mere fantasy.
From then, a mixture of the right opponent at the right time saw Joshua get where he did without facing the two best heavyweights of his era.
Instead, he got humbled by Andy Ruiz Jr. and a cruiserweight master who wasn’t fully ready for the top division.
If Oleksandr Usyk had fought Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder in September of 2021, he might have lost as he’s still filling out in the division.
It was just his luck that he got Joshua.
Anthony Joshua Stay humble
Dominating the first fight, it was clear Joshua found it hard to keep his usual mask on. It completely got ripped off in the rematch.
Joshua acted like a petulant child and revealed his true attitude when the going gets tough.
When Lennox Lewis, a true British icon, doesn’t warm to ‘the best heavyweight in the UK,’ that’s when alarm bells should ring.
Joshua had imitations all along. Most knew it, but they were not addressed or handled as the UK star was compared to some of the greats from the off.
That’s where the bone of contention emerges from. Sadly for AJ, it played out for everyone to witness on Saturday night.
How the man sold as many Pay Per Views as he has is staggering, considering he’s not the most talented heavyweight in his own country.
Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn are clearly great at their jobs. They managed to pull the wool over the UK public’s eyes on a boxing legacy mission never seen before.
Joshua is a two-time heavyweight champion. That can never be taken away from him. His “Stay Humble” manta, on the other hand, is no more.
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.