Anthony Joshua and his journey to boxing stardom started in the most unlikely of places: the undercard of the Froch Groves 2 fight at Wembley Stadium. The fight, which was a stop-the-press national event, captured the public’s imagination and introduced a new generation of fans to the sport. With Carl Froch retiring after the fight, Joshua was left to carry the torch and usher in a new era of British boxing.
Anthony Joshua Created A New Generation Of Boxing Fans
Anthony Joshua’s breakout fight against Dillian Whyte set the tone for the spectacle that came with his fights. The acrimonious rivalry between the two launched Joshua’s star as a pay-per-view fighter, and it also gave birth to the atmosphere that would accompany his numerous stadium shows. An emerging grime sensation at the time, Stormzy rapped ‘Shut Up’ as a live ring-walk song for AJ, with some lyrical adaptations made to take shots at Whyte. The show set the wheels in motion for the spectacle that would come to define Joshua’s career.
The second phase of Anthony Joshua’s career saw him become a global superstar. The Wladimir Klitschko epic fully illuminated his star and established him as a fighter that had outgrown headlining arenas in the UK. Joshua’s numerous stadium shows had a global appeal, with the atmosphere generated (fireworks, Notorious B.I.G ring walk song, Joshua’s initials lit up) tapping into a post-Olympic magnitude of the event, placing Britain as an epicenter for sporting entertainment once again.
However, the infamous Andy Ruiz night happened, causing doubts about Joshua’s ability, heart, and desire. He would bounce back with redemption over Ruiz and revitalization against Kubrat Pulev, but the scar tissue of defeat remained. In his most recent fight, Joshua faced Oleksandr Usyk, an elite heavyweight enigma that was too tricky for AJ to solve. Usyk caused the scar tissue to open up into an old wound, with Joshua’s passionate speech after the second defeat jumped on by critics as a sign that this was a man who had well and truly lost his way.
Anthony Joshua vs Jermaine Franklin
Now, Jermaine Franklin stands as Joshua’s next opponent. The consensus is that Franklin did enough to beat Dillian Whyte last time out. If he were to actually get the win over AJ, the ramifications for the UK heavyweight would be huge, and Joshua’s legacy as the man who secured the arrival of the latest wave of boxing fans would be distorted. Instead of being remembered as the man who brought British boxing back to prominence, Joshua to future generations may be remembered as a loser.
Despite the potential threat from Franklin, Joshua remains a favorite among boxing fans. His star power and charisma continue to attract new fans to the sport. While the road ahead may not be easy, Joshua’s legacy as a torchbearer for British boxing is already secured.
By Harry Duffy