Anthony Joshua once again travels to Saudi Arabia to avenge a loss and look to regain his world heavyweight titles as he faces Oleksandr Usyk this Saturday in Jeddah. Joshua has previously travelled to Saudi Arabia to right a wrong and looks to repeat that feat this Saturday, as I take a look back at the career of Anthony Joshua to this point.
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Like his opponent, Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua turned pro in 2013 following a Gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Joshua would be given a fight at London's O2 Arena on his professional debut against Emanuele Leo. Joshua would waste no time in his debut, stopping Leo in one round. Joshua would blitz through opponents in his early career, Paul Butlin, Hrvoje Kisicek and Dorian Darch would all only make it into the second round in Joshua's next three bouts. Joshua would get an early night in his fifth pro bout, as he would stop Hector Alfredo Avila in a round. Joshua's sixth bout would feature on the undercard of Carl Froch vs George Groves 2 at Wembley Stadium. Joshua would use the biggest platform of his career to date to his advantage, stopping Matt Legg in one round, before claiming he would be headlining Wembley Stadium himself in coming years.
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— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) May 31, 2021
Joshua would next face British veteran Matt Skelton. Joshua would continue to impress as he would dispatch Skelton in a round. Titles were on the horizon for Joshua but first, he had to deal with Konstantin Airich. Joshua was taken into the third round for the first time but ended the show there. The first title would come next, as Joshua would go through Denis Bakhtov in two rounds to pick up the WBC International heavyweight title. Another British veteran would stand in Joshua's way next in Michael Sprott, however, Joshua would display speed and power to stop Sprott in the first. Jason Gavern was next and would be the second man to take Joshua into round three but, yet again, Joshua would close the show. Raphael Zumbano Love would be the next man to attempt to crack the Joshua code but would find himself on the end of a perfect right hand from Joshua in round two.
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— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) May 10, 2022
Kevin Johnson had never been stopped in his 36 fight career at the time until he met Joshua. Joshua would floor Johnson in round one, before savagely stopping him in round two. Johnson announced his retirement following this bout, however, Johnson didn't stay retired. Joshua would challenge for the vacant Commonwealth title against undefeated domestic rival, Gary Cornish. Cornish didn't get to see round two, as Joshua blasted the Scotsman out in a round. The British title was next and a bitter rivalry would be revived. Joshua would face a man who handed him a defeat in the amateurs, Dillian Whyte. The pair shared a fiery build-up but would also deliver one of the best British heavyweight titles fight to take place. Joshua would visibly hurt Whyte in the first, with the consensus being another early night for Joshua. However, Whyte would land an uppercut in round two which hurt Joshua. The pair battled on but it would be in the seventh round when Joshua landed a sharp uppercut to stop Whyte.
Joshua managed to land a world title fight next, as he would face undefeated IBF champion, Charles Martin. After a cagey first round, Joshua would show his class in round two, dropping Martin twice on his way to a second-round KO victory to become IBF world champion. A seventh-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale and a third-round knockout of Eric Molina made up Joshua's first two defences before he would face his toughest test yet. Joshua's words following his victory over Matt Legg regarding headlining Wembley Stadium would be proven true, as he would face former world champion and heavyweight icon Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley. The vacant WBA title was added to the mix, meaning the prize was even bigger. Joshua and Klitschko put on an epic bout, Klitschko was floored in round five, but would then send Joshua to the canvas hard in the sixth. Joshua rose to his feet and would find a second wind in round 11, as he would land a vicious uppercut, which ultimately lead to Joshua flooring Klitschko twice before the referee waived the bout off and crowning Joshua a unified heavyweight champion.
Joshua would next headline the Principality Stadium in Cardiff to defend his belts. Kubrat Pulev was the initial opponent but would pull out through injury, leading to Carlos Takam being drafted in. Joshua would defeat Takam in an underwhelming fight by tenth-round stoppage. Joshua would return to the Principality Stadium next as he would add the WBO title to his mantle, defeating Joseph Parker. Parker would be the first man who would take Joshua 12 rounds. Alexander Povetkin was Joshua's next opponent, in a fight which saw Joshua return to the home of his greatest night, Wembley Stadium. Joshua would look slightly vulnerable in early rounds but would adapt and overcome as he would stop Povetkin in round seven. Deontay Wilder held the WBC belt, the only belt that was preventing Joshua from being the undisputed champion. Joshua would look to force a shot at Wilder by travelling to the US for his next bout. Joshua would be slated to fight Jarrell Miller and Madison Square Garden, however, Miller would fail a drug test, leading to Andy Ruiz Jr. being his replacement. What followed was one of the biggest shocks in boxing, as Joshua would drop Ruiz Jr. in round three but Ruiz Jr would fire back and drop Joshua twice in the same round. Joshua looked to recover but Ruiz Jr's relentless work rate would lead to Joshua being defeated for the very first time in his career and had ultimately lost his world titles.
Joshua would instantly invoke his rematch clause. The venue was confirmed as Diriyah in Saudi Arabia as Joshua desperately wanted his belts back. Joshua put on a composed performance, using his range to his advantage to keep Ruiz Jr. on the end of his shots. Joshua would regain his world titles via unanimous decision. Joshua would face Kubrat Pulev next and would defend his world titles in devastating fashion, as he would drop Pulev three times on his way to a ninth-round knockout victory. Joshua would next fight Usyk. A packed-out Tottenham Hotspur Stadium witnessed Joshua's second career defeat, as Usyk's flashy boxing skills would cause him all sorts of problems leading to Joshua being on the losing end of a unanimous decision.
Since this first bout, Joshua has opted to change his team and is no longer trained by Rob McCracken. Joshua now has Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez in his corner. Joshua will be looking to repeat his good fortune in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia as he yet again looks to avenge a loss. Extra gold has been added, as Tyson Fury vacated his Ring Magazine title this week and the belt has been confirmed to be on the line in the rematch between Usyk and Joshua. The fight takes place in the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia this Saturday and can be watched live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN anywhere else.