Anthony Joshua has it all to prove when he fights Oleksandr Usyk for a second time in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20th. Usyk will be looking to make sure that his victory over the Brit last year was no fluke and make a successful first defence of the WBA, IBO, IBF and WBO crowns.
Ever since Joshua suffered that memorable unexpected knockout defeat to Andy Ruiz in 2019 there have been criticisms that he is a poor man’s Frank Bruno.
I do not necessarily agree with that although there are some physical similarities. It is widely agreed that Bruno fought in an era that was more competitive.
There were less belts, so it was much more of a challenge to become a world champion. Champions like Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson took the sport seriously and stayed in shape between fights, unlike a lot of today’s belt holders.
I see where people are coming from. But let’s not forget that the 1980’s also did not offer much in the way of quality heavyweight contenders. That is why some folks raise the point that Tyson never really beat anybody that truly defined his legacy.
If we compare the fighting styles of Joshua and Bruno, both went for the knockout as early as possible and possessed tremendous power. Both also liked to box behind the jab, Joshua liking to do more so recently ever since the Ruiz defeat.
Frank did not hesitate to punch to the back of the head of his opponents, especially in his world title challenges to try and rough them up. Anthony rarely opts to take opportunities to get in a dirty blow. And overall, Joshua and Bruno are pretty much composed and respectful outside of the ring.
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But the one major difference between the two giants was when they got hit!
We all loved Frank for never giving up his dream of hearing his name being read out as a world champion one day and admired his bravery. Up until he finally rested the WBC title from Oliver McCall in 1995 at Wembley, he was known as the “nearly man,” someone who always came close before then in realising his ambition.
But unfortunately, whenever Bruno was hit with a huge blow he would tend to freeze which allowed for his rival to go in for the kill and finish him off.
Anthony Joshua has often been labelled a “quitter” since the first Andy Ruiz fight. But unlike Bruno, the Watford fighter has shown to not freeze when the tide turned. And he always kept trying.
Let’s not forget that it was actually the referee who decided to halt the contest with Ruiz. Anthony did not quit. He protested and wanted to continue.
And who could forget the moment when he got up off the canvas after being put there by Wladimir Klitschko and turned things around to knock out the Ukrainian?!
After just one serious punch, Frank went from a man full of belief to looking hopeless all within a second. That is the one huge difference between them.
But at the end of the day, whatever you like or do not like you are probably going to see and don’t see what you want to.