9 May 2017
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it
– then I can achieve it.”
This was said by the greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali.
I am not the first to draw comparisons between Ali and British boxer Anthony Joshua following his epic clash with Wladimir Klitschko over the bank holiday weekend, but the similarities are undeniable.
Joshua showed extraordinary mental strength, heart and resilience in the ring on Saturday night.
In front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, Joshua knocked legendary heavyweight Klitschko to the canvas in the fifth, shortly before Joshua himself hit the deck. A burst of energy had left the two boxers exhausted and it was hard to call who would take the victory. A cautious few rounds followed, during which Joshua regained his composure before bouncing back with fire and winning by technical knockout.
To be undefeated and win by knockout 19 times in a row, it is undeniable that Joshua has an extraordinary mindset. That, in no small part, is supported by his team. Joshua’s corner was telling him that Klitschko was exhausted, was wobbling, despite the Ukrainian having a strong round. I’ve no doubt that this, of course, helped Joshua to maintain his belief.
At a time when boxing has gained a reputation for childish insults, spats and poor sportsmanship, it was refreshing to see both fighters display respect as well as real humility. I wonder if Joshua’s humility comes from his family – the boxer lives in a modest council flat home with his mum.
There is no doubt that sport creates incredible people. Whether you enjoy boxing or not, it is extraordinary to witness the sheer strength of these fighters, both physical and mental and the commitment that it has taken them to get to that point. This is a moment to truly appreciate a British sporting legend in the making.