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Anthony Joshua's evolution as a fighter is not necessarily a bad thing


Anthony Joshua's evolution as a fighter is not necessarily a bad thing


Anthony Joshua is not the same fighter he was when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. While this is an uncontroversial statement, the disagreement lies in whether this indicates a decline in Joshua as a fighter, and whether it is necessarily a bad thing for Joshua to have adapted his game. Joshua's fight against Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night left some observers disappointed that he did not score a knockout.


However, Joshua controlled almost every round of the fight and was never in any danger. He landed some flush right hands and big uppercuts but never put together a sustained flurry during which one got the sense that Franklin needed to "survive" it. Joshua admitted that he did not see any openings to go for a knockout, but some observers felt that there were opportunities that he could have taken.


Joshua is correct that he had a tricky, defensively sound operator in front of him on Saturday. Some observers will counter that while Joshua says he didn’t see any openings to go for a knockout, that they did, or at least, ones could have appeared if he’d tried harder to create them. However, neither party is wrong in this case. A different fighter, perhaps a younger, more brash operator, very well could have stopped Franklin.


Joshua’s evolution as a fighter does not necessarily mean he is declining. He has become more cautious and technique-focused, and this has allowed him to control fights without being in danger. While some fans may be disappointed that he is not the same fighter he was in 2017, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Joshua is still one of the best heavyweights in the world and his evolution as a fighter has allowed him to be more effective in the ring.

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