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Anthony Joshua: Between retirement and rematch

By Kunle Awosiyan

 

In 1978 in Zaire for the “Rumble in the Jungle” Muhammad Ali came from recess to beat one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, George Foreman.

Not many people gave Ali any chance against the reigning champion but Ali came from retirement to retire Foreman.

Foreman was overconfident, having knocked out those who tormented Ali easily. As a matter of fact, Joe Frazier fell six times inside the first two rounds against Foreman.

In Zaire, Ali created a new scene in the arts of boxing by suppressing the power of Foreman with his grit and maximum use of the ring.

With three combinations by Ali, the ferocious Foreman was rolling on the canvas. Ali had the opportunity to end Foreman’s career but would not, it was a great act of professionalism.

Foreman was so ashamed that he quit boxing for 10 solid years after Ali had retired. Foreman said in one of his interviews that he had to leave the stage for a man who was bigger than boxing, Ali.

Boxing is an art. That is why the most muscular or the strongest may not always win but the most athletic and enduring.

In those days of Foreman and Ali, there was a man, Ron Lyle. He was regarded as the pound for pound of that era. He was the first to floor Foreman. Lyle was heavily built and strong but he never became a champion, no single belt’ despite his agility.

He beat many great boxers but he never beat a champion. May his soul rest in peace.

Joshua was a lucky guy who capitalised on the opening space in this boxing time to become a unified champion twice.

But it’s unfortunate that all the determination, skills and style that brought Joshua to this stage are gradually fading away.

Joshua’s style has changed so much that one now wonders how he rose to this level.

Why? Perhaps he has lost interest in boxing. Unlike Foreman who quit after losing to Ali, Joshua had reactivated a rematch once and won.

He has shown that he has the mind to rekindle his sparingly glowing light but can he do it twice to become three-time heavyweight champion?

I’m not sure, going by his new song of retirement even before he went to the ring against Oleksander Uzyk.

While Joshua was thinking of retirement, those who needed his belts were training hard to take it from him.

If Joshua wants boxing, he should stop talking about other businesses now and be focused without which Usyk will fight and win him again.

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