Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua, OBE (born 15 October 1989) is a British professional boxer. He is currently a unified heavyweight world champion, and holds three of the four major world championships in the sport: the IBF title since 2016, the WBA (Super) title since 2017, and the WBO title since March 2018. He has also held the IBO title since 2017, and at regional level he held the British and Commonwealthheavyweight titles from 2014 to 2016.
Joshua in 2017
Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua
6 ft 6 in (198 cm)
82 in (208 cm)
15 October 1989(age 29)
Wins by KO
Men’s amateur boxing
Representing Great Britain
Joshua represented England at the 2011 World Championships as an amateur in the super-heavyweight division, winning a silver medal; he also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, winning gold. In 2014, a year after turning professional, he was named Prospect of the Year by The Ringmagazine. In 2017, Joshua’s victorious fight against Wladimir Klitschko was named Fight of the Year by The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Joshua is the second British boxer, after James DeGale, to win both a gold medal at the Olympics and a world title by a major professional sanctioning body, as well as being the first British heavyweight to do so.
As of September 2018, Joshua is ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight by The Ring, the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), and BoxRec.Known for having exceptional punching power, Joshua has finished all but one of his fights to date by knockout.
Joshua was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, to a Nigerian mother, Yeta, and an English father of Nigerian and Irish descent, Robert Joshua.Specifically, Joshua is of Yorubaethnicity. His cousin, Ben Lleyemi, is also a professional boxer. The pair made their professional debuts together in 2013.
Joshua grew up for some of his early years in Nigeria as a boarding schoolstudent. Following his parents’ divorce at age 12, he returned to the UK halfway through Year Seven to join Kings Langley Secondary School. Growing up on the Meriden Estate in Garston, Hertfordshire, Joshua was called “Femi” by his friends and former teachers, due to his middle name, Oluwafemi. He excelled at football and athletics and broke the Year Nine 100m record with a time of 11.6 seconds.
A late starter in the sport, Joshua only began boxing in 2007, aged 18, when his cousin suggested he take it up. His club, Finchley ABC in Barnet, North London, is also home to professional heavyweight Dereck Chisora. Joshua won the 2009 and 2010 Haringey Box Cup. Joshua won the senior ABA Championships in 2010, in only his 18th bout, and later turned down £50,000 to turn professional. “Turning down that £50,000 was easy. I didn’t take up the sport for money, I want to win medals.” He also went on to win the same tournament the following year.
In 2010 his domestic success earned him a place on the GB Boxing team and later the same year he became British amateur champion at the GB Amateur Boxing Championships after defeating Amin Isa. In June 2011 at the 2011 European Amateur Boxing Championships he beat Eric Berechlin and Cathal McMonagle but was stopped by aggressive Romanian southpaw Mihai Nistor after receiving several standing counts. In October 2011 he was named Amateur Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers Club of Great Britain.
Joshua had an amateur record of 40-3.
2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships
During the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan, Joshua marked his sudden arrival on the world scene when he beat Italian reigning World & Olympic champion Roberto Cammarelle, and went on to stop Erik Pfeifer of Germany in the semis before losing by a single point to local boxer, Magomedrasul Majidovwinning a silver medal. En route to the final, Joshua secured his place at the 2012 Olympic Games in the 91 kg+ division as a relative new-comer to the elite level of the sport.
Joshua at the 2012 Summer Olympics
Joshua went into the 2012 London Olympics as a novice on the international scene, despite being a world silver medalist. He received a tough draw in the last 16 of the super heavyweight event in Cuban Erislandy Savón, ranked No. 4 in the world by AIBAand nephew of the three time Olympic champion Félix Savón. The home boxer battled through three tough rounds in his opening contest before being given the result 17:16. This decision caused some controversy with most observers believing Savon had clearly won the bout whilst a few others taking the view that he had won on merit. In his next bout he fought 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medalist Zhang Zhilei, dropping his taller opponent in the middle round; Joshua won by 15:11 guaranteeing at least a bronze medal. In the semi-final Joshua met Kazakh boxer Ivan Dychko, and despite Joshua’s height disadvantage he won by 13:11 victory gaining a place in the Olympic final. Joshua met 32-year-old reigning Olympic Champion and former twice World Champion, Roberto Cammarelleof Italy in the closing bout. After conceding the first two rounds (6:5 and 13:10) to Cammarelle, an adversary he had already beaten the previous year, Joshua grew into the fight and fought back to level the scores after the third round (18:18). Joshua was announced winner via count-back and the new Olympic champion. The final decision was criticised by some boxing experts, being defined as a “home decision”.
He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to boxing.
2009 as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Lost to Dillian Whyte (United Kingdom) UD-3
2010 won the ABA National Championships 91 kg+ in Bethnal Green, London as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Defeated Chris Duff (United Kingdom) WO
Defeated Simon Hadden (United Kingdom) WO
Defeated Dominic Winrow (Isle of Man) RSC-1
2010 won the Haringey International Tournament in Haringey, London as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Defeated Otto Wallin (Sweden) PTS
2011 won the ABA National Championships 91 kg+ in Colchester, Essex as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Defeated Fayz Aboadi Abbas (United Kingdom) PTS (24-15)
2011 came 7th in the 39th European Amateur Boxing Championships 91 kg+ in Ankara, Turkey as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Defeated Eric (Germany) PTS (23-16)
Defeated Cathal McMonagle (Ireland) PTS (22-10)
Lost to Mihai Nistor (Romania) RSCH-3
2011 came 2nd in the 16th 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships 91 kg+ in Baku, Azerbaijan as a Super Heavyweight. Results were:
Defeated Tariq Abdul-Haqq (Trinidad and Tobago) RSCI-3
Defeated Juan Isidro Hiracheta (Mexico) RET-1
Defeated Mohamed Arjaoui(Morocco) PTS (16-7)
Defeated Roberto Cammarelle(Italy) PTS (15-13)
Defeated Erik Pfeiffer (Germany) RSCI-1
Lost to Magomedrasul Medzhidov(Azerbaijan) PTS (22-21)
2012 Super Heavyweight Olympic Gold Medalist as a member of Team GB. His results were:
Defeated Erislandy Savón (Cuba) PTS (17-16)
Defeated Zhang Zhilei (China) PTS (15:11)
Defeated Ivan Dychko(Kazakhstan) PTS (13-11)
Defeated Roberto Cammarelle(Italy) PTS (+18-18)
On 11 July 2013 it was confirmed that Joshua had turned professional under the Matchroom Sport promotional banner. Joshua made his professional debut on 5 October 2013 at the O2 Arena in London in the Main-Event of a card featuring Scott Quigg’s successful WBA super-bantamweight title defence against Yoandris Salinas, beating Italian Emanuelue Leo by a TKO in the first round. Joshua’s second professional fight was against English heavyweight Paul Butlin at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on 26 October 2013. The bout was stopped in the 2nd round when the referee decided Butlin was taking too much punishment and declared Joshua the winner by TKO. Joshua’s third professional fight was on the Prizefighter Series card against Croatian Hrvoje Kisciek on 14 November 2013. Joshua got a TKO victory in the second round, achieving his third knockout victory in a row.
In February 2014, Joshua scored a 2nd-round TKO victory over Dorian Darch to take his record to 4-0. The following month, on the undercard of Ricky Burnsagainst Terence Crawford, Joshua defeated Hector Alfredo Avila with a 1st-round KO, in Glasgow, Scotland. In May that year Joshua knocked out Matt Legg in one round on the undercard of Carl Froch vs. George Groves II at Wembley Stadium. In Joshua’s seventh professional fight, on 12 July 2014, in the Echo Arena, Liverpool, he defeated Englishman Matt Skelton via 2nd round stoppage. In Anthony Joshua’s eighth professional fight, on 13 September 2014, against German heavyweight Konstantin Airich, Joshua took his undefeated record to 8-0 with a 3rd round stoppage victory, in the Manchester Arena.
Joshua was in the Main-Event of a Matchroom Sport card for the second time in his career, in his 9th professional appearance for the vacant WBC International heavyweight title against former champion looking to win the title for a second time Denis Bakhtov on 11 October 2014 at The O2 Arena in London. Joshua won the fight by knockout in the second round taking his record to 9-0 and then winning the WBC International heavyweight Title aged just 24.
In his 10th professional bout, on 22 November 2014, Joshua defeated Michael Sprott within the 1st round to extend his record to 10 wins all by stoppage. Going into this bout as he had 9 bouts all not lasting longer than 3 rounds his total career ring time was just 35 minutes and 10 seconds and after the bout it was just 36 minutes and 36 seconds in 10 bouts as a result of the bout lasting only 1 minute and 26 seconds.
He was supposed to face American boxer Kevin Johnson on 31 January 2015 at The O2 Arena in London, but the bout was cancelled after Joshua sustained a back injury. On 4 April 2015, Joshua beat Jason Gavern as he collected a third-round knockout in his return to the ring in Newcastle. On 9 May 2015, in his 12th professional bout, Joshua defeated Raphael Zumbano Love in a second-round knockout in Birmingham. On 30 May 2015, Joshua defeated former world title challenger Kevin Johnson (29-6-1, 14 KOs), inflicting the first stoppage in Johnson’s career. After Johnson was saved by the bell in the first round the fight was stopped by the referee shortly after the beginning of the second round. Prior to the fight, Johnson had taken the likes of Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora the 12-round distance. A day after the fight, Johnson announced his retirement, although he made a comeback in March 2017.
British and Commonwealth champion
On 16 July 2015, it was announced that Joshua would fight undefeated Scottish boxer Gary Cornish (21-0, 12 KOs) for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight title at the O2 Arena on 12 September. At the time of the fight, Cornish was the IBO Intercontinental champion.Joshua won the vacant title by stopping Cornish at just 90 seconds in the first round. Cornish was knocked down twice before the fight was officially stopped. In the post-fight, Joshua said, “Gary had a solid jab so I had to make sure I didn’t take any of those shots. He was throwing a large jab and I tried to slip it. I managed to land the right hand and it was a perfect connection and he went down.”
Joshua vs. Whyte
Immediately after Joshua stopped Cornish, Hearn confirmed Dillian Whytewould next put his undefeated record on the line against Joshua. Joshua met Whyte in a grudge match for the vacant British heavyweight title on 12 December 2015, whilst also defending his Commonwealth heavyweight title for the first time. The fight took place on Sky Box Office. The two had previously fought within the amateur rankings in 2009 where Whyte had won. After surviving the first scare of his career in the second round, Joshua won the fight after initially shaking Whyte with a right hook to the temple and eventually finishing with a devastating uppercut for the knockout in the seventh round. It is said that Joshua earned £3 million for this fight alone, as a result of signing a new 5-year deal with Matchroom which sees him take a share of the PPV revenue earned.
IBF heavyweight champion
Joshua vs. Martin
In February 2016, it was announced that Joshua would face IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin (23-0-1, 21 KOs) on 9 April 2016 at the O2 Arena. Martin was making the first defence of the belt that he won in January after defeating Vyacheslav Glazkov for the vacant title in January 2016.Joshua set the pace in the first round and kept the southpaw Martin at bay before sending him to the canvas with a straight right hand in the second round. Martin got to his feet only to be knocked down for a second time by a similar punch just moments later. This time Martin failed to beat the count after taking too long to get up, and the referee waved the fight off, with Joshua winning his first world title.
Martin was heavily criticized for his performance, and apparent lack of ambition to win the fight. Observers accused him of quitting early, feeling that he could have got up quicker and fought on. Martin later placed the blame on the pre-fight distractions, claiming that he was ‘mentally not there’. At just 85 days, Martin’s reign as IBF heavyweight champion was the second shortest in professional boxing history, with only Tony Tucker’s 1987 reign being shorter.
Joshua vs. Breazeale
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced a 3-man shortlist from IBF’s top ranking 15 boxers for Joshua’s first defence of his title. This included former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne (25-1-2, 21 KOs) and Eric Molina (25-3, 19 KOs), both of whom were recently beaten by American WBC champion Deontay Wilder, alongside unbeaten upcoming fighter Dominic Breazeale (17-0, 15 KOs). On 25 April, it was announced that Joshua’s next fight will be against Dominic Breazeale on 25 June 2016 at the O2 Arena in London. Breazeale was ranked 13th by IBF below British pair Derek Chisora and David Haye. Breazeale became only the second boxer, after Dillian Whyte, to take Joshua past 3 rounds. After a dominant performance, Joshua successfully defended his IBF heavyweight title with a magnificent seventh-round knockout win. Breazeale was dropped heavily by a huge left hand. After the fight, Eddie Hearn said Joshua could next fight IBF mandatory Joseph Parker, around November. The fight averaged 289,000 viewers on Showtime in the afternoon. The card averaged 227,000 viewers.
A week after the fight was announced against Breazeale, Joshua announced a new multi-fight deal with U.S. broadcaster Showtime. The fight screened live in the States by Showtime after they signed up as Joshua’s exclusive U.S. partner.
Joshua vs. Molina
It was announced in August that Joshua would be making a second defence of his IBF title at the Manchester Arena in Manchester on 26 November. This would mark the first time since September 2014 that Joshua would be fighting in the city. Possible names put forward for the fight were top IBF contenders Kubrat Pulev and Joseph Parker. Former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko became the front-runner after his scheduled rematch with Tyson Fury was cancelled a second time.
A deal could not be finalized for Joshua vs. Klitschko, due to the WBA delaying a decision to sanction the fight and Klitschko injuring himself, which put the fight off completely. Klitschko said he would be looking to fight Joshua in the first quarter of 2017. Bryant Jenningsand David Price were the names being pushed forward to fight Joshua next, however it was announced Joshua would be fighting at the Manchester Arena defending his world title against former world title challenger Eric Molina(25-3, 19 KOs), who was coming off a stoppage victory against Tomasz Adamek, although being behind on the official scorecards. The fight was televised in the United States live on Showtime. After two one sided rounds, which saw Molina hardly throw anything, Joshua knocked Molina out in the third round. He was first dropped after a right hand to the jaw. Molina beat the count but was met with a flurry of punches, forcing referee Steve Gray to end the fight. According to Nielsen Media Research, the fight peaked at 390,000 on Showtime, with an average viewing of 368,000 viewers. On 22 May 2018, UKAD issued Molina with a two-year ban backdated from 28 October 2017 until 28 October 2019. Molina tested positive for dexamethasone, a corticosteroid after his loss to Joshua. There was some controversy as Molina had fought twice after in 2017
Unified heavyweight champion
Joshua vs. Klitschko
Main article: Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko
On 2 November 2016, the WBA agreed to sanction a unification bout between Joshua and Klitschko for the vacant WBA ‘super’ title, previously held by Tyson Fury. The WBA agreement was, if Joshua retained his belt against Eric Molina the fight would take place on 29 April 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London.
After Joshua knocked out Molina in the third round, the Joshua vs. Klitschko fight was officially announced by Hearn in the ring. WBA president Gilberto J. Mendoza confirmed that the winner will have to face mandatory challenger Luis Ortiz next, with deadlines due to be set after the unification fight. A day later the IBF announced the winner must fight their mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Because of this clashing with the WBA enforcing their mandatory, it was believed that either Joshua or Klitschko would have to vacate a title. In January 2017, Eddie Hearn announced that over 80,000 tickets had been sold, a new box office record, overtaking Carl Froch vs. George Groves II. He put a request in for 5,000 more tickets to be made available. It was reported that Joshua would earn in the region of £15 million for the fight. At the weigh-in, Klitschko weighed in at 240 and a quarter pounds, the lightest he had weighed since 2009. Joshua came in heavier at 250 pounds.
In front of a post-war record crowd of 90,000 in attendance, Joshua won by TKO in a high-drama war that saw both men giving their all. They fought a close and cautious first four rounds. In the fifth, Joshua came out roaring and barraged Klitschko to the canvas. An angry Klitschko rose up and dominated Joshua for the remainder of the round, battering him and scoring his own knockdown in round 6. The next few rounds were again cautious, both men wary of each other, until a reinvigorated Joshua attacked Klitschko in round 11, sending him to the canvas. Klitschko again rose but Joshua knocked him down for a second time in the round, then sent a barrage of punches while Klitschko was against the ropes that made the referee stop the fight.
At the time of stoppage, Joshua was ahead on two judges scorecards 96–93 and 95–93, and the third judge had Klitschko ahead 95–93. CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 107 of his 355 punches thrown (30%), and Klitschko landed 94 of 256 (37%).Joshua called out Fury in the post fight interview, “Tyson Fury, where you at, baby? Come on — that’s what they want to see. I just want to fight everyone. I’m really enjoying this right now.” In the press conference after the fight, Joshua said he would have no issues with having another fight with Klitschko, “I don’t mind fighting him again, if he wants the rematch. Big respect to Wladimir for challenging the young lions of the division. It’s up to him, I don’t mind. As long as Rob thinks it’s good I’m good to go.” Eddie Hearn said Joshua’s next fight would likely take place at the end of the year, possibly at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.
The fight averaged 659,000 viewers on Showtime in the United States. It was shown live and the fight began around 5 pm. ET and 2 pm. PT. Nielsen Media Research revealed the fight peaked at 687,000 viewers which was during rounds five and six. This was an increase from Joshua’s previous Showtime numbers that aired live during the late afternoon. The delayed tape-replay on HBO was watched by an average 738,000 viewers and peaked at 890,000. In a press release, German TV channel RTL announced the fight was watched by an average 10.43 million viewers. The whole card averaged 9.59 million viewers. This was higher than the 8.91 million that tuned in to watch Klitschko vs. Fury in 2015.
On 7 June 2017, the IBF granted Joshua an exemption for him to rematch Klitschko instead of fighting mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. At this point, it was not said that the rematch would take place. Klitschko said he needed time to review his situation before agreeing to a rematch. It was only weeks after the fight, when Eddie Hearn filed the paperwork to the IBF to request the exemption to the mandatory defence. IBF explained that the rematch must take place no later than 2 December 2017 and the winner must fight Pulev next with no exemptions.On 2 August, Joshua revealed he would need to start a three-month training camp on 22 August, if he was to fight on 11 November, therefore hoping a fight with Klitschko would be finalised by then. However, on 3 August 2017, soon after the IBF granted an exemption, Klitschko announced on his website and social media channels that he was retiring from the sport of boxing. Thus, ending the possibility of a Joshua v Klitschko rematch.
Joshua vs. Takam
Joshua (in white trunks) vs. Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, 2017
On 3 August 2017, Klitschko announced on his website and social media channels that he was retiring from boxing. As a result, on 4 August, upon learning that Klitschko had retired, the IBF immediately ordered Joshua and 36-year-old Kubrat Pulev (25–1, 13 KOs) to fight next, with a deal needing to be reached by 3 September 2017. The WBA then ordered Joshua to make his mandatory defence against their top ranked fighter Luis Ortiz, giving them 30 days to reach a deal. According to Hearn, the plan was to fight Pulev next, followed by Ortiz and then a potential unification fight against Deontay Wilder. On 22 August, details between the camps of Joshua and Pulev were being discussed and close to being finalised for the date of 28 October 2017, with Las Vegas as the potential host.
On 28 August, it was announced that Joshua and Pulev would fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.Promoter Eddie Hearn made the official announcement on 5 September, “I’m delighted that we will be in Cardiff at the magnificent Principality Stadium for the next step of the AJ journey. Nearly 80,000 will gather on Oct. 28 to create another unforgettable night of boxing. Anthony will meet his mandatory challenger, [IBF] No. 1-ranked Kubrat Pulev, and the card will be stacked with world championship action, domestic title fights and the very best young stars in the game. Get ready for the next episode from the biggest star in world boxing.” The official press conference took place on 11 September and the following day, a reported 70,000 tickets had been sold, making it the fastest selling event. It also set the record of largest boxing attendance to be expected indoors. The previous record was Muhammad Ali vs. Leon Spinks rematch which gathered 63,000 fans at the New Orleans Superdrome in 1978. Joshua’s three-fight deal with Showtime had expired, giving Eddie Hearn the chance to talk to other providers. Showtime had the right of first option and a matching right, if any providers bid higher. When HBO bid $1.6 million for the rights to show the fight, Showtime matched the bid, meaning the fight would be shown live in the afternoon on Showtime.
On 16 October, rumours circulated that Pulev had suffered an injury, which could see the fight being in jeopardy. The same reports suggested the injury was 10 days old, but Pulev’s camp had kept it quiet. The injury was later revealed to be true and 36-year-old Carlos Takam(35-3-1, 27 KOs), who was ranked number 3 by the IBF stepped in to replace Pulev on 12 days notice. Eddie Hearn said in a statement that he received a phone call from Pulev’s promoter Kalle Sauerland, advising him of a shoulder injury he had sustained during sparring. Hearn revealed when the Joshua vs. Pulev fight was made, he contacted Takam’s camp, knowing they would be next in line and told them to begin a training camp and stay on standby. IBF stated that Joshua fighting Takam would satisfy his mandatory defence. Despite Hearn claiming Joshua would weigh around 235–240 pounds, he officially weighed a career-heavy 254 pounds, while Takam came in a 235 pounds.
On fight night, in front of nearly 80,000 fans in attendance, Joshua retained his world titles with what many believed was a premature stoppage in round 10. The official time of stoppage was 1 minute, 34 seconds. Many fans ringside booed the referee stoppage, which saw Takam go out on his feet. After a cagey first round, the second round saw Takam accidentally headbutt Joshua’s nose, likely breaking it, causing Joshua’s eyes to water. In round 4, Joshua opened up a cut above Takam’s right eye. After the referee checked the eye, Joshua knocked Takam down with a left hook to the head. Takam beat the count and lasted the remainder of the round. Another cut appeared above Takam’s left eye in round 7. Referee Phil Edwards asked the ringside doctor to take a look at Takam a few times during the fight. During rounds 8 and 9, Joshua started to back off, which saw Takam come forward and land some good shots to Joshua’s head. In round 10, Joshua landed a clean right uppercut, followed by a barrage of punches. Referee Edwards, seeing this, stepped in between, halting the fight. A doctor confirmed that Joshua’s nose was not broken, only bruised and swollen.
It was revealed at the time of stoppage, judges Pawel Kardyni and Michael Alexander had Joshua ahead 89–81, whilst judge Ron McNair had the fight 90–80 perfect for Joshua. In the post-fight interview, Joshua was asked about the stoppage, to which he replied, “It was a good fight until the ref stopped it, I have the utmost respect for Takam. I have no interest for what’s going on with the officials. My job is the opponent. I don’t have control over the ref’s decision.” Takam believed the fight was stopped too early, stating he would appreciate a rematch. Hearn and Joshua spoke about potential fights in 2018, which included fights with Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder, where a win against both would see Joshua the undisputed champion and an all-British clash against Tyson Fury. CompuBox stats showed that Joshua landed 152 of 454 punches thrown (34%) and Takam was less busy connecting 52 of his 222 thrown (23%). The fight, which was shown live in the US on Showtime, averaged 334,000 viewers. A replay was shown later in the evening, which averaged 309,000 viewers.
Joshua vs. Parker
Main article: Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker
It was reported that Joseph Parker’s team were looking at Lucas Browne as a potential match-up if they failed to land a unification fight with Joshua. According to Higgins, a date in March 2018 was being discussed with Joshua’s team, however Eddie Hearn offered an 80-20 split, which would favor Joshua. Higgins spoke to Fairfax Media, saying the offer would need to be more reasonable, also taking into consideration the fight would take place in the UK. Other names discussed for a Summer 2018 fight included Bryant Jennings and Alexander Povetkin.According to a Tweet from Parker on 15 November, he was offered less than half of what was paid to Charles Martin when he defended his IBF title against Joshua. The next day, Higgins told Fairfax Media that he and Hearn were still talking around a deal that would benefit all parties. Parker stated he was willing to drop to 35% of the net profit. Higgins made a final offer to Hearn on 22 November. He told Sky Sports, “It’s our final bottom line decision. We feel anything less is disrespectful or a disgrace.” On 29 November, Hearn stated the fight could be confirmed within two weeks. Higgins listed Camp Nou as the potential venue. According to Hearn on 11 December, a deal was very close to being announced with the Principality Stadium a frontrunner to host the fight. Hearn jokingly said they were over-paying Parker, with the deal being 65-35. On 28 December, Higgins announced that a split had been agreed which would see Parker earn between 30-35% of the purse and the fight should take place in April 2018. Higgins stated that a rematch clause would be in place for Joshua, should he lose. In a potential rematch, Parker would get a 55% split. On 8 January 2018, the Principality Stadium in Cardiff was confirmed as the venue for the fight.On 14 January, negotiations came to a close and the fight was officially announced to take place on 31 March in Cardiff, live on Sky Sports Box Office. In an official press release on 5 February, Showtime announced they would televise the fight live in the United States. On 16 February, it was noted that Joshua was weighed around 247 pounds, nearly 10 pounds lighter that he weighed against Takam. A picture was posted on Twitter which revealed the scales that Joshua stood on, his weight was at 112.9 kilograms. Joshua and Parker both came in lighter compared to their respective previous bouts. Parker weighed in first at 236.7 pounds, his lightest since he fought Solomon Haumono in July 2016. Joshua weighed 242.2 pounds, his lightest since 2014 when he fought Michael Sprott. It was reported that Joshua would earn a career-high £18 million and Parker would also earn a career-high pay of £8 million.
Joshua was forced to go the distance for the first time in his 19-0 knockout career, to defeat Parker, via a 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBOtitle, as well as retain his WBA, IBF and IBO belts. The judges scored the fight 118–110, 118–110, and 119–109 in favour of Joshua. Many media outlets including ESPN had the fight around 116–112 with Joshua the clear winner. With going the distance, Joshua’s 20 fight knockout streak came to an end. Parker used his movement well to slip a lot of Joshua’s attack but in doing so did not do enough himself to win more rounds. Parker started on the backfoot in the opening rounds allowing Joshua to take the rounds. There was an accidental clash of heads in round 3, however neither boxer was cut from this. There was another accidental head-butt in round 9 where the referee called for a short break. Joshua’s tape on his left glove kept coming loose and he was ordered to go back to his corner for a re-tape. Parker suffered a cut over his left eye after Joshua accidentally elbowed him. In round 12, neither boxers engaged as much as expected with Joshua trying to track Parker down, who again, on the backfoot looked to survive the round. The fight was marred by Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone, who kept both boxers from fighting on the inside. This mostly had negative impact on Parker, where he was seen to have the most success. The referee was breaking the action each time both boxers were on the inside, even when they were still throwing shots. Many boxers, pundits and both the Sky Sports and Showtime broadcast team criticised the referee during and after the fight.
After the fight, Joshua explained his game plan for the fight, “My strategy in there was kind of stick behind the jab. It’s one of the most important weapons. The old saying is the right hand could take you around the block, but a good jab will take you around the world. And that secured another championship belt. So I stuck behind the jab and I made sure anything that was coming back, I was switched on, I was focused and 12 rounds, baby! I thought it was hard, right?” Parker was humble in defeat and stated he would back stronger, “Today I got beaten by a better champion, bigger man. A lot to work on. It was a good experience being here. Thank you all for the opportunity to fight in this big stadium. We’re gonna go back, train hard, plan again and come back stronger. No regrets, you know, take it on the chin. … So we’ll be back again.” When asked what he would do different, Parker replied, “Work harder. Come back stronger, more punches. But I would love to have another go. Just back to the drawing board.” During the post fight press conference, Parker’s team stated the referee did not speak English, whereas Joshua and his promoter Hearn disagreed and said he spoke English fluently. Compubox Punch stats showed that Joshua landed 139 of 383 punches thrown (36.3%) and Parker landed 101 of his 492 thrown (20.5%).
The fight was shown live in US on Showtime in the afternoon. The live showing averaged 346,000 viewers and peaked at 379,000 viewers. A replay was shown later in the evening which saw an increase. The replay averaged 430,000 viewers and peaked at 483,000 viewers. Nielsen Media Research, who released the figures do not have the facility to measure whether the same customers that watched the live showing tuned in for the replay.
Joshua vs. Povetkin
From April up until the end of June 2018, both camps of Joshua and Wilder were in deep talks around the super fight to finally take place. The main hurdles were split, date and venue. At one point Wilder had agreed to fight Joshua in the UK, however there was slight confusions in the contracts that were being sent back and forth.At the same time, Hearn was also working a deal out for Joshua to fight WBA mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (34-1, 24 KOs). The WBA initially ordered the fight after Povetkin knocked out David Price on the Joshua-Parker undercard. Negotiations took a turn on 26 June when the WBA gave Joshua’s camp 24 hours to finalise a deal with Povetkin. With Joshua closer to fighting Povetkin in September 2018, Hearn stated the Joshua-Wilder fight would still take place in April 2019 at Wembley Stadium. Hearn later explained that the WBA would have granted an exemption, had Wilder signed a deal to fight Joshua.
On 5 July, Hearn announced that Wembley Stadium in London would host Joshua’s next two fights on 22 September 2018 and again on 13 April 2019. On 16 July, Joshua vs. Povetkin for the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles was officially announced for 22 September on Sky Box Office. Many British pundits and trainers spoke around how Joshua should not underestimate Povetkin and how he would pose a big threat to Joshua. On 27 July, Joshua signed a new 3-year deal with Matchroom Boxing, which would see him showcased on Sky Box Office for at least another five fights, including the bout with Povetkin. On 1 August, it was revealed by the WBO that the bout against Povetkin would satisfy Joshua’s mandatory defences for both the WBA and WBO, since Povetkin was ranked as number 1 by both governing bodies. It was also announced that Joshua would be named the Super Champion should he defeat Povetkin.
Joshua has expressed an interest in chess as well as reading as a way to reinforce his boxing and tactical abilities. He was a bricklayer before taking up boxing full-time.
In 2009, Joshua was put on remand in Reading Prison for what he describes as “fighting and other crazy stuff”. He was made to wear an electronic tag on his ankle when released.
In March 2011, Joshua was pulled over by the police for speeding in Colindale, North London. He was found with eight ounces of herbal cannabis hidden in a sports bag in his Mercedes-Benz. He was charged with possession with intent to supply a class B drug, an offence that carries a maximum 14-year sentence. Joshua was suspended from GB boxing squad and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 100 hours’ unpaid work after pleading guilty at crown court.
In November 2016, Joshua announced he would be investing in a members-only fitness gym, BXR. Joshua teamed up with the founders of BXR via his physio and medical contacts and the same team from CHHP London in Harley Street are available at BXR including a number of sports therapists, physiotherapists, doctors and osteopaths alongside BXR’s boxers, boxing coaches and MMA fighters. The gym opened in January 2017 on Chiltern Street in Marylebone, London.