05292017

‘Role model Joshua can match Woods effect’

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‘Not perfect’ Joshua plans next steps

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua can do for boxing what Tiger Woods has done for golf in the past 20 years, says promoter Barry Hearn.

Briton Joshua, 27, unified the heavyweight division by stopping Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of their fight at Wembley on Saturday.

“All sports need flag-bearers,” said Hearn, whose son Eddie promotes Joshua for their Matchroom Sport agency.

“Joshua is the finest role model I have seen in sport.”

Saturday’s thrilling victory – in front of a post-war British record 90,000 fans – means former Olympic champion Joshua is unbeaten in 19 fights as a professional and is now the WBA and IBF world champion.

Woods, 41, won the Masters as a 21-year-old and has since added a further 13 major titles.

The American is credited with changing the face of golf.

“The Joshua effect is very similar to the Tiger Woods effect, where people who are not so interested suddenly become interested, where young people become aspirational to follow in someone’s footsteps,” said Hearn.

Meanwhile, Tyson Fury has claimed he could beat Joshua with “one arm tied behind my back”.

Joshua called out his compatriot, who beat Klitschko on points in November 2015, after his victory on Saturday.

“Styles do make fights but I am sure I can beat AJ with one arm tied behind my back,” Fury said in a Sky Sports interview.

‘I don’t even need a warm-up if he wants this.”

Fury, 28, is unbeaten as a professional, with 18 knockouts in 25 fights, but surrendered his world heavyweight titles in an effort to focus on his mental health problems and is currently without a boxing licence and out of condition.

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I know I can knock anyone out – Joshua

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