Joshua’s Starpower Reborn: Hearn Hails Heavyweight’s Rise After Epic Ngannou KO

By Rob Smith - 03/13/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn claims Anthony Joshua has risen to the top of the sport with his highlight reel knockout of Francis Nganou.

Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) has come full circle, returning to the top spot that he’d been at before being knocked off his throne by Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 and suffering two additional losses to Oleksandr Usyk,

AJ’s popularity is unquestionably high right now after his win over Ngannou, but whether he can stay there will depend on if he can continue to win.

Beating lower-level opposition like Ngannou, Otto Wallin, Robert Helenious and Jermaine Franklin is a bit deceiving because these aren’t even top 15-level fighters. They’re all second-tier. Credit to Joshua for beating them, but we won’t know whether Joshua is back until he beats Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Filip Hrgovic.

From Adversity to Internet Sensation

“Anthony’s stock has just rocketed. He’s back in the position as the biggest draw in the sport,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing about Anthony Joshua returning to the top of the sport after his second round knockout of Francis Ngannou last Friday.

Fans definitely enjoyed watching Joshua knockout the 0-1 novice Ngannou, but honestly, this fight should have never been sanctioned as a professional match. Sticking a one-fight novice in with a two-time heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist is just wrong.

It was blatantly unfair from the get-go, and it shouldn’t have happened. So, Hearn needs to temper his enthusiasm a bit and look closely at who Joshua beat and has been beating lately and realize that he’s not facing quality opposition.

“The knockout goes viral and goes into every news and media outlet and social media account,” said Hearn. “The rise of Anthony Joshua has been quite incredible. Back in 2022 with Oleksandr Usyk. After that fight with tears in his [Joshua] eyes, frustration with back to back losses, I knew he put everything into trying to come back.

Hard Work and Transformation: The Key to Joshua’s Revival

“Did I think he could reach the heights? Did I think he could regain the confidence and get to the levels he is now? Maybe not. It’s just a lesson for everybody. Consistency counts,” said Hearn.

If Hearn isn’t going to match Joshua against the Fury vs. Usyk winner next, he should put him in with Filip Hrgovic, Martin Bakole or Jared Anderson. Those are some of the better heavyweights in the division. Joseph Parker didn’t look good enough in his last two fights to consider him as a viable option for AJ,

“He’s never taken his foot off the gas; he’s never taken a shortcut. He’s found the confidence,” said Hearn. “I think it’s the best Anthony Joshua that we’ve ever seen. An all-around fighter now, with experience and the ability to defend and with improved footwork.

“With that tenacity, ferocity back, and that spitefulness and punching harder without question than he’s ever punched before,” said Hearn about Joshua.

YouTube video