British boxing sensation Anthony Joshua has earned a belated but emphatic endorsement from one of his predecessors as the heavyweight division’s most exciting talent, Mike Tyson.
Tyson admitted Joshua’s watershed victory over Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday had won him over, in particular the WBA, IBO and IBF champion’s resilience in a fluctuating contest.
“I had actually picked Klitschko to win as I thought this was just some jumped-up young guy from England, but man he fought well,” said Tyson, who in 1986 became the youngest ever heavyweight champion, aged 20.
“Klitschko is 41 and no one has ever done that to him. Importantly, he showed heart. He took a big punch from Klitschko and went down but he got back up. He showed real intestinal fortitude.
“He is consistent, persistent and he didn’t give up. There’s no quitting in him. I love that he goes out there to hurt his opponent, too. That’s what boxing is all about, but most fighters just don’t have that hunger.”
London 2012 gold medallist Joshua’s win in front of 90,000 spectators at Wembley has catapulted him into boxing’s top bracket and led to predictions that he could be the first billionaire fighter.