Heavyweight champion of the universe: Sports stars and celebrities on Joshua win
Joshua reaffirmed his status as the world’s leading heavyweight with the victory at Wembley.
Praise has been flooding in for Anthony Joshua after he stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
In front of 68,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, Joshua became only the second man to defeat Povetkin – and the first to do so inside the distance.
Former world champion Oscar De La Hoya called Joshua the “real heavyweight champion of the universe”, while Audley Harrison praised him for overcoming “real adversity”.
Now that’s the real heavyweight champion of the universe @anthonyfjoshua— Oscar De La Hoya (@OscarDeLaHoya) September 22, 2018
Hats off to Anthony Joshua - that was a real test and AJ came through — Sasha came to win and AJ overcame real adversity— even tho I picked the round, Sasha was much better than I thought / excellent match up 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾#JoshuaPovetkin— Audley Harrison MBE (@audleyharrison) September 22, 2018
Very Good finish by Joshua. Povetkin gave a decent challenge and showed some gaps still in AJs game, but youth, size and power prevailed! 💥🥊— Adam Booth (@boxingbooth) September 22, 2018
Excellent performance by Anthony Joshua. Dude was patient, took his time and finally found his rhythm in the 6th round. Came out and dominated in the 7th, landing everything before the knockdown. Finished it off with one final onslaught.#JoshuaPovektin— dan shapiro (@dannyshap) September 22, 2018
It was the Olympic gold medallist’s 22nd consecutive win of his professional career and with the Russian out of the way, social media quickly went into a frenzy, asking who would be next for Joshua.
One of the first to react was former unified champion Tyson Fury, who is facing Deontay Wilder on December 1 for the WBC title, quickly posting on Twitter and Instagram after Joshua failed to mention him in his post-fight interview.
“Think it’s now safe to say AJ & his team are a pack of s***houses & will rob the British boxing fans of Britons biggest fight. They will never fight me ever!,” he said on Twitter.
“Way to slow & ponderous. Can’t box eggs.! #Nuffsaidontjematter. Contact me when u grow a pair. I’m 27/0/19 ko and the lineal heavyweight champion of the world.! Can’t say I blame team Joshua.”
Joshua instead focused on Wilder, saying he would be his number one target – and fans appeared eager to see the American as his next opponent on April 13, including none other than Liam Gallagher.
Yes AJ onwards n upwards as you were— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) September 22, 2018
The Briton also drew acclaim from outside the boxing world.
Both English actress Nathalie Emmanuel and NBA star Stephen Curry tweeted their congratulations, while several rugby players proved to be big fans and Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy even made it ringside.
AJ 🥊 🔥🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 @anthonyfjoshua— Danny Care (@dannycare) September 22, 2018
Good fight that! He’s getting better and better, next years gonna be 🔥— Jackson Wray (@JacksonWray) September 22, 2018
What a shot!!!— Richard Wigglesworth (@rwiggy9) September 22, 2018
And it wasn’t just Joshua’s antics inside the ring which had people applauding the champion. A short clip on Joshua’s Twitter page of him wishing his heavily bruised opponent all the best sparked more than 17,000 likes as people commended his sportsmanship.
People don't love AJ cause his the champion, people love him cause he loves the people. Humble and respectable, AJ will be remembered as a great man. Congratulations champ you've done everyone proud 🙌🏽— Bappi Rahman (@bappi_bear) September 22, 2018
you're a true gentleman and a credit to boxing and to humanity.— Ian James Smith (@IanJSmith01) September 22, 2018