Mike Tyson has likened Anthony Joshua’s epic victory over Wladimir Klitschko to the way his sensational knock outs once re-galvanised the hard old game and the heavyweight division.
Iron Mike expects Britain’s AJ to reign as the heir to his violent kingdom for a decade.
The scale of Joshua’s sudden importance to boxing and its marquee division was spelled out thus by Tyson: ‘When a new heavyweight champion wins the world title as explosively as that it changes the whole game.
‘That was a great fight. I had actually picked Klitschko to win as I thought this was just some jumped-up young guy from England. But man, he fought well. Klitschko is 41 and no-one has done that to him before.’
Tyson identified much of his old scary self in Joshua when he analysed Saturday night’s unforgettable occasion and its thunderous 11th round climax: ‘Importantly, Joshua showed heart. He went down from a big punch by Klitschko but he didn’t give up, he got back up. That was real intestinal fortitude. There’s no quit in him.
‘I also love that he goes out to hurt his opponent. That’s what boxing is all about but most fighters don’t have that hunger.’
There speaks the Baddest Man on the Planet who threatened to drive one opponent’s nose bone into this brain and to eat the children of another.
Iron Mike says Joshua’s win has shifted the boxing landscape back towards the heavyweights
Joshua’s mutual respect with the legendary Klitschko has shaped his image into that of a gentle giant but he has hinted at the possibility of trash talk if and when he meets Tyson Fury in the ring and Iron Mike says: ‘The more all the other heavyweights want to fight him, he may have to change.’
The rewards, he point out, will be worth it.
Tyson, speaking to ESPN at the opening of his Boxing Academy franchise in Dubai, made an apparent reference to Floyd Mayweather’s huge earnings when said: ‘All the little guys who have been making a lot of money won’t be making so much any more.
‘This one fight has changed boxing. It’s going to be all about Joshua and the heavyweights now.
‘The sky’s the limit for Joshua. He’s going to dominate the division and make so much money if he keeps doing what he did at Wembley. Joshua is still a baby but now he’s the biggest name in boxing and people only pay big money to see the best.’
Joshua beat 41-year-old opponent Klitschko with a vicious onslaught in front of a record crowd
Tyson, who was estimated to have blown more than $300 million in purses, sees the similarities in his and Joshua’s upbringing, saying; ‘Sure I see the comparisons. If you are of Afro-English background you’re likely to have a tough time.
‘If you’re born in the wrong part of town it’s always going to be rough. You’re going to be financially challenged, scholastically challenged. It was like that for me and it’s like that now.
‘Boxing gives kids like me and Joshua an outlet. You can take a guy with nothing, clean him up and the next thing he’s meeting the President of the United States or the Prime Minister.’
He might have added that he can also become richer than Croesus. But unlike Iron Mike, AJ is not likely to squander his wealth.