Next in our series of features building towards Tyson Fury's showdown with Anthony Joshua, furyjoshua.com looks at the latter's greatest performances.
The rise and the renaissance - the very best of Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua has become the biggest box-office attraction in British boxing - smashing pay-per-view records as well as opponents en route to becoming the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion.
But he hasn’t always had it easy - overcoming adversity to prevail in some of his biggest fights, and being knocked off the top of the mountain before climbing back to the summit once again.
Anthony Joshua Fights: The Top 5
Joshua’s top five performances make the cut for different reasons. From awesome demolitions to boxing masterclasses to classic slugfests.
They have all contributed to a 23-1 professional record so far, with the promise of more massive moments to come.
Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko
Date: April 29, 2017
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Result: Joshua won by TKO R11
Joshua was already a world heavyweight champion, but he gained a whole new level of respect after defeating Wladimir Klitschko on an epic night in front of a huge crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium.
Even Klitschko himself came out of this stunning spectacle with an enhanced reputation - quite something after more than two decades as a professional.
When Wlad had ruled the heavyweight division for almost a decade, he was often criticised for being too safety-first - resulting in some pretty dull title defences.
But on this spectacular evening in London he was nothing of the sort, meeting Joshua head on in a brutal slugfest which could easily have gone either way.
Many experts wondered whether ‘Dr Steelhammer’, now 41 and some 17 months on from losing his crown to Tyson Fury, was over the hill. And when he was dropped by Joshua in the fifth, those naysayers looked like being proved right.
But in the very next round the pendulum swung, massively, in favour of the Ukrainian great as he hammered Joshua to the canvas with a devastating right hand.
AJ beat the count but was badly hurt and looked there for the taking, but try as he might Wladimir just could not take the opportunity to finish the job.
An epic fight continued to ebb and flow over the next four rounds as Joshua gradually regained his senses and his composure to assume control again.
The end came in the 11th and it started with one of the best punches of Joshua’s career - a highlight-reel uppercut which almost lifted Klitschko off his feet. Wladimir was seriously hurt and Joshua followed up to force him to the canvas with a flurry of blows.
Klitschko made it up but was soon down again courtesy of a combination which ended with a brutal left hook.
Yet again Wladimir - cut over the left eye but still showing great heart - rose to his feet but now he was living on borrowed time and as Joshua swarmed all over him on the ropes, referee David Fields stepped in to save him from further punishment.
Joshua not only added the WBA world heavyweight title to his IBF belt, he also added a signature win to his growing CV. It was a night which will live long in the memory.
Date: December 7, 2019
Venue: Diriyah Arena, Diriyah, Saudi Arabia
Result: Joshua won by UD (118-110, 118-110, 119-109)
Joshua’s stunning first professional defeat at the hands of late stand-in and 30-1 rank outsider Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in June 2019 had burst AJ’s bubble in devastating fashion.
Gone was the previous aura of invincibility which had come with a perfect CV of 22 straight victories since moving to the paid ranks - and the doubters were out in force.
Joshua though accepted his loss without complaint, asserted his right to a rematch immediately and doubled down on getting his titles back.
In truth the job was already half done before AJ and Ruiz Jr even stepped into the ring in Saudi Arabia on December 7, 2019.
Joshua had spent the preceding months shedding 10lbs and working dutifully on a changed approach. Instead of engaging the shorter Mexican-American with the fast hands, he would box smartly from the outside, limiting danger and the opportunities his opponent would crave.
Ruiz Jr, in sharp contrast, appeared to have enjoyed the fruits of being a world champion way too much. And when he tipped the scales at a decidedly chubby 283lbs - 15lbs heavier than for the first fight - the odds on a Joshua victory tumbled.
The next day that lack of dedication to preparation would cost Ruiz Jr his titles as AJ executed Rob McCracken’s gameplan to perfection.
Joshua’s jab and footwork were a revelation as the challenger took the initiative early and assumed control of a one-sided bout.
To complete the mission required significant focus and concentration from Joshua, and bar a mini-scare in round eight when Ruiz Jr managed to mount a couple of meaningful flurries, the execution was flawless.
There was little doubt what the outcome would be as the result went to the scorecards, and so it proved as Joshua claimed a convincing victory by unanimous decision - and more importantly regained his world heavyweight titles.
Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte
Date: December 12, 2015
Venue: O2 Arena, London, England
Result: Joshua won by TKO R7
Anthony Joshua is now the heavyweight champion of the world and preparing to defend his titles against Kubrat Pulev later this year, while Dillian Whyte aspires to the same lofty goal as he prepares to put his WBC mandatory contender status on the line against Alexander Povetkin.
But when the pair met back in December 2015, it wasn’t a world title fight but a highly-anticipated domestic dust-up between two up-and-coming and unbeaten fighters.
The end product did not disappoint as Joshua and Whyte produced an explosive main event in front of a frenzied packed house at London’s O2 Arena.
Whyte came into the fight determined not to let Joshua steamroller him in the way he had his previous 14 professional opponents. He was determined to come forward, and in the process took some fearsome shots from the heavy-handed Joshua.
‘The Body Snatcher’ did though land some meaningful leather of his own - in particular a huge trademark left hook in the second round which clearly hurt Joshua.
But Dillian was unable to capitalise on that, and in hindsight it was the turning point - a golden opportunity missed.
From that moment on, Joshua gradually assumed control of the bout and by the halfway point - new territory for the former Olympic champion - Whyte was clearly waning as the fight was gradually knocked out of him.
The coup de grace came in round 7 and it was a beauty as Joshua first staggered his opponent with a left to the temple, before closing the show with a brutal uppercut.
While Whyte lost his unbeaten record, he lost nothing more in defeat. It was a fight which had lived up to the hype and we can only hope we get to see a rematch at some stage in the future.
Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker
Date: March 31, 2018
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales
Result: Joshua won by UD (118-110, 118-110, 119-109)
March 31, 2018 in Cardiff didn’t provide another devastating knockout to add to Joshua’s growing haul. Instead it marked the first time he had been forced to go the distance as a professional.
Parker showed fast hands, good movement and real durability to give Joshua a proper examination - but it was a test the Watford man came through with flying colours.
Joshua used his stiff jab to telling effect throughout to anchor a superbly mature and controlled display which started to build a significant points advantage from an early stage.
While Parker did threaten briefly to mount a victory bid in the 11th round, it provided only momentary concern for Joshua on a night during which he had to display a more circumspect style.
There were moments when Joshua was still able to land some of those trademark blockbusters - an uppercut in round eight and a couple of lovely left hooks in the 10th being perfect examples.
While some experts felt the official scorecards were too wide in favour of Joshua, in reality there was never any doubt about the outcome.
And AJ duly picked up the WBO belt to add to his IBF and WBA world heavyweight titles.
Anthony Joshua vs Charles Martin
Date: April 9, 2016
Venue: O2 Arena, London, England
Result: Joshua won by KO R2
Joshua was fighting for a world heavyweight title in just his 16th professional bout - but he was more than ready for the occasion as he destroyed Martin in devastating fashion.
In the process AJ became just the fourth man ever to become world champion in boxing’s marquee weight division whilst still a reigning Olympic champion.
Martin, making his first defence of the IBF title he had claimed less than three months earlier, entered the ring wearing a crown and a smile. But by the time he left it a short while later, he had neither.
Joshua - again backed by a huge and raucous crowd at the O2 Arena - was in no mood to waste time and set about putting Martin under pressure immediately.
After allowing himself a minute or so to find his range and work out Martin’s southpaw style, he went on the offensive, rocking the champion with a series of big right hands.
Martin did survive to hear the bell for the end of the first round, but the second would be his last as champion. First he was staggered by a lovely left hook from Joshua, before a picture-perfect right sent him to the canvas.
The champion did beat the count, but his recovery was only momentary as the wrecking ball that is Joshua sealed the deal by decking him again with another powerful right hand.
It had taken AJ just 34 professional rounds to ascend to the top of the mountain, and on this night it was difficult to imagine anybody removing him any time soon.