Anthony Joshua: Boxing’s version of The Rock?Written by Kris Kretschman
This year in boxing has seen the rise of prospective megastar Anthony Joshua who has the potential to be the most bankable commodity in all of sports.
His potential spiked after he knocked out Wladimir Klitschko in April in a classic.
Joshua vs Klitschko was best heavyweight title bout the world had seen since Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko threw down in June 2003.
In last April's historic clash, Joshua knocked Klitschko down mid-way during the fight but then got floored by Wlad and appeared to be down for the count. However, he got off the canvas and showed heart, determination and grit en route to eventually knocking out the former longtime champion.
And there it was, the passing of the guard.
It was a special night - or day, depending on where you live - for boxing. The world saw the birth of the sport's next breakthrough star, and his name is Anthony Joshua.
The only negative is that we won’t get to see a rematch as Klitschko retired early last month. Had it taken place, it would have been at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fighting in Las Vegas would have been huge for Anthony Joshua and his brand. Joshua and his promoter expressed heavy interest in Sin City because they know how important crossover appeal is and fighting in Vegas would have certainly given Joshua's brand a boost in the States. So not only was Klitschko's retirement bad news for Anthony, it was disappointing for fans who were clamoring to see the rematch.
What's next for Joshua?
Anthony's promoter, Eddie Hearn, recently insisted Joshua would fight twice per year. In my opinion, Hearn is quite delusional if he truly believes that Anthony Joshua can fight only twice per year and mainstain his momentum at this point of his career. While Joshua is a huge star in the U.K., he is still relatively unknown to the mainstream public in the USA. And while he might not be as brash and arrogant as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, he possesses that Hollywood charm Americans would find appealing.
Joshua is a great role model who is charismatic and handsome, and has an infectious personality. He's also an entertaining knockout artist in the ring.
He is the Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson of boxing.
Anthony is set to defend his IBF title against Kubrat Pulev in late October. If Joshua defeats Pulev, and many expect him to do so, there is active speculation he will fight the winner of the potential match-up between Deontay Wilder and Luis Ortiz; Both of whom present a legitimate threat to AJ and are undefeated knockout artists themselves.
Some question Joshua's durability following the Klitschko bout. If that was an issue, he will most certainly have that problem against Wilder or Ortiz as both men are in their primes and both men have thunderous power.
So, will Anthony Joshua be the next breakthrough star in boxing? Is he boxing's version of The Rock?
I believe so but only time will tell. Perhaps his knockout victory over Wladamir Klitchscko was the start of a prosperous career for Anthony Joshua.