Tony Bellew Believes The Rise In British Boxing, Down To Anthony Joshua, Is Comparable To Muhammad Ali’s Impact On The Sport
“Anthony Joshua brought boxing to a level it’s never been before. That’s not an observation, that’s a fact.” Former WBC world Cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is one of Anthony Joshua’s biggest fans and did not hold back on the praise for Joshua in William Hill’s ‘Up Front’ podcast hosted by Simon Jordan.
Bellew believes the impact that the former unified Heavyweight champion has made on British boxing is undeniable. AJ will be remembered in years to come for changing the face of the sport in this country.
“Carl Froch sold 80k at Wembley Stadium but Anthony Joshua made this a regular thing, it’d been done before but the only fighter in the history of Boxing who did this on a regular occasion was Anthony Joshua.”
Joshua made stadium fights a familiar occurrence in this country, headlining four consecutive ones in 2017 and 2018 and five in total so far.
Froch-Groves 2 has been credited for taking boxing back to the mainstream again in the UK after years of the sport seemingly falling out of public interest. The career of AJ propelled it even further and kept it as a feature of general sports conversation for the last six or seven years.
“He started taking the show on the road. This boy is the first person to take boxing to the desert, to Saudi Arabia. This boy opened up a market that hadn’t been touched before.”
Joshua was the first boxer to bring major fights to the Middle East and now fights like Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk have essentially fallen through due to Saudi Arabia not making an offer to stage the fight when the boxers wanted to do it.
Major fights, especially in the Heavyweight division, are becoming more and more reliant on Middle Eastern interest, something Eddie Hearn/Matchroom Boxing have capitalised on through a deal in Abu Dhabi.
American super fights like Ryan Garcia-Gervonta Davis and boxing’s biggest star Canelo Alvarez have yet to enter the market but it seems like it will only be a matter of time before they do so.
Simon Jordan dismissed Bellew’s claim of Joshua bringing big fights to a new market as something historic, claiming that Muhammed Ali did the same in Zaire; when he fought George Foreman in 1974.
Bellew controversially that the British superstar’s impact on the sport is somewhat comparable to Ali’s. “He changed the game like Muhammad Ali changed the game for fighters in this country. I was here before he was here as a professional and I’ve been here throughout his peak and his rise and the game changed with him.”
“I was at the start of my professional career fighting in leisure centres, fighting in sports centres for buttons. The growth and the rise were huge”