Times Sport editor John Hutchins offers his personal opinion on the events, topics and personalities in the world of sport.
NOW I’m not particularly a big boxing fan – two blokes knocking seven bells out of each other is not my sort of entertainment – but, nevertheless, what a fight it was between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitscho.
With an 80,000 plus crowd, the contest for the WBA and IBO world heavyweight titles between the 27-year-old Britain and the 41 year-old Ukrainian, was Wembley’s biggest boxing match for 80 years.
It was a bruising encounter where Klitscho was on the canvas three times and Joshua once; as a sporting drama it was the fight that had everything before the referee stopped the pulsating bout in the 11th round to award the victory, on a technical knockout, to the younger man following a powerful uppercut and left hook combination. I could not help but admire the courage of both brave men, be thrilled at the elation for the victor and the graciousness of the gallant loser.
After all the success and public acclamation it must be hard for Joshua – or anyone else for that matter — to ‘come down’ after such a high.
One of the great fighters of all time, Mike Tyson, had some advice for his fellow pugilist – he should know as the youngest ever world heavyweight champ at 20, he wasn’t nicknamed as ‘the Baddest Man On the Planet’ for nothing.
Tyson said Joshua has the potential to go onto beat the legendary Rocky Marciano’s record of 49 fights, 49 wins (43 knockouts).
‘It’s so easy to have a big head when you are successful all the time,’ said Tyson, ‘It’s easy to be arrogant when you’ve come from the hood and no one has taught him humbleness yet. You don’t arrive humble in this world. You have humbleness thrust upon you!’
What I like about Joshua, of what I have seen in interviews, is that he already appears to have some of that humbleness. He’ll need it. It is said that he could be on his way to becoming Britain’s first sporting billionaire. Good luck to him.
Joshua weights in at 6ft 6ins, 250 pounds, with fists that have the capability of a pair of industrial sledge hammers. I, on the other hand, do not. To face Joshua, I reckon it would take a billion pounds before I was ‘persuaded’ to climb into the same ring as him. Er ... on second thoughts, make that two!