Is it too early to chalk up an Anthony Joshua Top 5 Knockouts list? Well, probably, yes. But even though the guy has had a mere fifteen fights and is yet to claim the scalp of a world-level opponent, there’s something special about ol’ AJ, isn’t there? This 6’ 6″ wrecking machine has a chilling KO percentage, unquestionable pedigree, and will be challenging for a world title this coming Saturday. Let’s get to it!
1. Joshua vs Dillian Whyte
If you’ve been closely following the pro career of Anthony Joshua, this one was probably a given. Whyte was Joshua’s top threat on British soil, and the pair had plenty of bad blood thanks to a turbulent history growing up. Whyte had knocked down and out-pointed Joshua in the Amateur ranks and had plenty of confidence going into their much-hyped clash at the O2 Arena, London.
The fight itself was a lot more competitive than most boxing scribes had imagined – certainly this one, anyway. Whyte survived a huge scare in the 1st round, and soon came back to buckle the knees of Joshua in the 3rd. Whyte didn’t manage to expose any particular flaws in Joshua, but did bring out another side of Joshua, who was made to seriously work for the first time in his pro career.
Joshua passed the test with flying colors, eventually tagging Whyte in the 7th round en route to a scary knockout courtesy of a sickening uppercut. Joshua vs Whyte didn’t disappoint, and undoubtedly extended Joshua’s reach well beyond UK shores that night.
2. Joshua vs Gary Cornish
Gary Cornish had a pretty record going into his crack at Joshua. Cornish was young, unbeaten, certainly capable, and possessed true Heavyweight stature, standing at 6’ 7”. While not viewed as a major threat, Cornish was expected to give Joshua some rounds, nonetheless, and maybe even ask some questions of the formidable talent.
But Joshua surprised his critics once again when he dispatched of his foe in the opening round, dropping Cornish off a counter-right, and soon after by a fight-ending left hook. Cornish had been obliterated in devastating fashion, and Joshua had become a bona-fide seek-and-destroy Heavyweight. With rival Dillian Whyte fighting on the same card, Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn could see a lucrative domestic showdown on the horizon (above).
3. Joshua vs Kevin Johnson
Johnson flew in from across the pond with plenty of confidence and looked to carry the ability and experience to last some rounds and frustrate Joshua. And that wasn’t considered too bold a prediction at the time. Johnson was rangy, cunning and, while not known for actually winning big fights, was known for holding his own and always hearing the final bell. Tyson Fury, nor Christian Hammer, Manuel Charr or Derek Chisora had been able to put Johnson away so far.
Joshua wasted no time playing around with the durable Johnson, dropping him twice in the 1st round – which should have been enough for the referee to step in – and for a third and final time in the 2nd. It was brutal stuff, indeed, and of course all the more impressive since Johnson had never been halted before. Johnson, according to BoxRec’s record, looks to have now hung up his gloves for good. Which is understandable.
4. Joshua vs Raphael Zumbano Love
Love was brought in to – yes, again – give Joshua some rounds. And while Love was on his way to becoming another Heavyweight journeyman, he was expected to hang in there for a while, even it meant taking a pounding. Love was a crude fighter, but carried enough power and strength to perhaps make things interesting; for the record, Love had gone 12 rounds with Shannon Briggs, 8 with Eric Molina, and 10 with Charles Martin. Not bad.
But Joshua’s refined ability and class was all wrong for him. Love just never had a chance in this one. The encounter was violently one-sided, with the beating finally being halted after Love was knocked down off a monster right hand in the 2nd.
5. Joshua vs Michael Sprott
Sprott, a very seasoned 42-23 at the time, was considered a domestic-level talent at best. Still, he had plenty of experience, having mixed it up with an ecliptic mix of talent on the UK and world scene. A former British, Commonwealth and European Heavyweight titlist, Skelton had beaten the likes of Audley Harrison and Edmund Gerber, and gone the distance with Robert Helenius.
But it took Joshua just over a minute to force the referee to save Sprott from an unanswered barrage of thudding blows. Joshua had arrived and was now firmly fixed on serious fight fan’s radars.
What’s your take on our Top 5 Anthony Joshua Knockouts? And, while you’re here, chime in with your predictions ahead of Joshua vs Martin.