How time flies. This month (April 29) marks the fifth anniversary of Anthony Joshua’s epic, up from the floor win over Wladimir Klitschko. The fight that saw AJ become a three-belt champ, having won the IBF strap the previous April, also saw Joshua become a major star. The action fight that saw both men hit the mat, with Joshua surviving a torrid sixth round to get the late stoppage victory, received many plaudits – with some fight writers going as far (way too far) as to suggest Joshua TKO11 Klitschko might have topped even the all-time classic Ali-Frazier fight as greatest heavyweight fight ever!
So much has happened in the career of 32 year old Joshua since, and not all of it has been good. A shock stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz, later avenged, may well have permanently changed Joshua, making him, in the opinion of some, forever “gun-shy.” A second loss came, this defeat at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk, this loss coming, some say, in large part because of Joshua’s reluctance to let his hands go. And now, at 24-2(22), Joshua is heading towards his must-win return fight with Usyk.
It’s quite amazing to think that Joshua has boxed just seven times since the big win over Klitschko, which came half a decade ago. This is just not good enough, and another big fault in the career of Joshua is his poor activity level. Yes, the pandemic got in the way but Joshua should still have had way more than a mere seven fights in five years. With 2022 looking like being another one-fight year for Joshua, things will not change any time soon.
When we look back, is it fair to say Joshua has never topped his great win over Klitschko? AJ has beaten good fighters in Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin and (an out of shape) Ruiz in the return, but the shining moment on his resume has to be the Klistchko win. In your opinion, has Joshua improved as fighter since April of 2017, has he stayed pretty much where he was, or has he deteriorated as a fighter? Due to the lack of fights, it’s tough to tell.
It’s not all his fault, not at all, but Joshua has not had the massive fights he should have had – with Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. If AJ had boxed one or both of those two guys, we would know fully how great a fighter he really is. Is Joshua even deserving of the distinction great? AJ looked to be on his way after showing so much heart and desire in halting “Dr. Steel Hammer,” but if you’re writing Joshua’s five-year report card, how do you reward him? Maybe with a C+?