Fighting talk: Does AJ want to be a fighter or a boxer?

"Never let success get to your head, never let failure get to your heart."

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 11:04 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th June 2019, 2:42 pm
IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua arrives at the arena before his fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City (Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing UK).

Whatever you think of Anthony Joshua's performance at Madison Square Garden, this man should be an inspiration to all of us the way he conducts himself outside of it, particularly in defeat.

He's vowed to be the "same old AJ" despite his stoppage loss to unfancied Andy Ruiz in New York on Saturday, and that has to be respected.

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He's sticking loyal to trainer Rob McCracken and will not leave his Finchley ABC roots.

While there may come a day where that might change, one loss does not wipe out all he has achieved before.

Joshua has his faults, he knows it, we all know it.

Boxing is about 'hit but don't get hit'. Joshua can do the first part great, the second, not so much. This is nothing new, though, we all saw it against Dillian Whyte way back when. There have been others.

I'm no pugilistic expert but a reverse back to the fundamentals would be no bad thing for AJ.

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Work on the head movement and the jab with those long levers, lose a little of the bulk. Again, this should come as a surprise to no one.

Joshua can learn from his peers, as well as those around him. Two fighters and world champions - one a heavyweight, the other a light welterweight (in his prime) - have had successful careers despite not being able to take too much punishment.

Wladimir Klitschko reigned supreme for a decade, by using a jab. He was knocked out early in his career but adapted and rose to the top of the game.

He never got in trade outs and was criticised for being boring and too cautious. But his legacy is there for all to see.

Amir Khan is the opposite.

Bar Joshua he's the most high profile British boxer on the planet, despite his recent wane.

Khan didn't let the fight get coached out of him, he would trade with anyone.

Joshua needs to decide what he wants to be - a fighter or a boxer.

One is a little less exciting than the other, and both can lead to success, but in a division where one punch can change everything, the former would be the more sensible, if safe, route to take.

*Saturday was also an underwhelming night for our own Josh Kelly.

He thought he shaded it, and so did I to be honest, but he didn't do enough against Ray Robinson to get the win in the judges eyes.

In the cold light of day he might be disappointed with the fact he got cut twice and took too many shots.

But this is what it's all about, Kelly is still a relative novice in the pro game. And the problem is he's so skilled that he's having to learn at a higher level than most.

This was perfect for his career, really. A tough fight, where he had to dig deep. It might not feel like it this week for the Ryhope lad, but this could well be the making of him.