The Anthony Joshua Frank Bruno effect that the young heavyweight champion must be wary of as he gets ready for the fight of his life.
Anthony Joshua is without question the fastest rising superstar of the heavyweight division in world boxing. He already holds a world title despite relative inexperience when compared to other champions.
His upcoming clash with former decade-long kingpin Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium is capturing the minds of both casual and hardcore fans everywhere.
It promises to be a collision of epic proportions.
There is, however, always the possibility that things could not go according to plan…
My uncle is by no means the biggest boxing fan around – he’d much rather watch a ball being kicked around a field for 90 minutes than two men trading leather in a 20 foot ring.
But his insight comes from years of viewing time across the sporting board. I have some catching up to do.
Speaking with him recently about Joshua’s upcoming defence, he raised questions about the Londoner’s chances against the much more experienced former champion.
A shocking revelation considering the majority of the boxing world is expecting AJ to close out ‘Dr. Steel Hammer’ with another consecutive KO.
When I asked him to explain his opinions, this is the answer I got:
“He’s (Joshua) knocking everybody out and he looks brilliant. But guess what? So was Frank Bruno. I remember watching all of his fights thinking ‘This guy is unstoppable. He’s destroying everybody they put in front of him’. That’s fine as long as you can keep getting away with it, blowing them all away. But what happens when you actually have to box? When you have to throw 50, 80, 100 punches a round to keep up? A lot of big guys don’t fare well when the knockout doesn’t come, that’s when they lose on points and think ‘S***, what have I been doing?’. Or what if they get caught like Bruno did? He didn’t see it coming but as soon as they put him in with a guy who actually stood a chance of troubling him it all fell apart. It’s happened since and it’ll happen again. It’s The Bruno Effect.’
I’m filling in a few gaps and removing a couple of expletives in what was a lengthy speech to me, but he certainly has a point.
Joshua is yet to go the twelve round limit or fight fire with fire over a long period of time. It doesn’t look like he’s in danger of getting stopped, but as my uncle described, it never does.
David Price, the Liverpool heavyweight, is arguably the last British heavyweight talent to fall foul of ‘The Bruno Effect’, having been pitched as Britain’s next heavyweight hopeful before being stopped twice by American Tony Thompson.
The same could be said on a lesser level for Lennox Lewis.
While Lewis would recover to become an icon of British sport his shock KO losses against Haseem Rahman and Oliver McCall derailed the hype train for quite some time.
These might me isolated incidents separated by years between each of them, but you can’t deny that whenever an upset like this does take place there seems to be a running trend.
It’s always an up and coming or established British heavyweight with a string of powerful knockouts who looks unstoppable. Sound familiar?
Am I saying Joshua will crumble against Klitschko? Of course not.
Aside from getting tagged in the second round of his fight against Dilian Whyte he’s yet to put a foot wrong and considering his statuesque physique and gruelling training regime, on top of his years training for the Olympics, I’m guessing he’ll have enough in the tank to last twelve rounds should the situation call for it.
Frank Bruno eventually would have his hand raised in world championship glory becoming a beloved staple of British sport in the process.
A standing he still holds to this day with good reason, but it’s always important to remember that no man is truly unbeatable and the worst of losses can come when you least expect them.
No matter how exceptional the story has been thus far. The Anthony Joshua Frank Bruno effect is something this talented young champion must stay wary of.