PRAISE has been flooding in for Anthony Joshua after he stopped Alexander Povetkin in seven rounds to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
In front of 68,000 spectators at Wembley Stadium, Joshua became only the second man to defeat Povetkin – and the first to do so inside the distance.
Former world champion Oscar De La Hoya called Joshua the “real heavyweight champion of the universe”, while Audley Harrison praised him for overcoming “real adversity”.
It was the Olympic gold medallist’s 22nd consecutive win of his professional career and with the Russian out of the way, social media quickly went into a frenzy, asking who would be next for Joshua.
One of the first to react was former unified champion Tyson Fury, who is facing Deontay Wilder on December 1 for the WBC title, quickly posting on Twitter and Instagram after Joshua failed to mention him in his post-fight interview.
“Think it’s now safe to say AJ & his team are a pack of s***houses & will rob the British boxing fans of Britons biggest fight. They will never fight me ever!,” he said on Twitter.
“Way to slow & ponderous. Can’t box eggs.! #Nuffsaidontjematter. Contact me when u grow a pair. I’m 27/0/19 ko and the lineal heavyweight champion of the world.! Can’t say I blame team Joshua.”
Joshua instead focused on Wilder, saying he would be his number one target – and fans appeared eager to see the American as his next opponent on April 13, including none other than Liam Gallagher.
The Briton also drew acclaim from outside the boxing world.
Both English actress Nathalie Emmanuel and NBA star Stephen Curry tweeted their congratulations, while several rugby players proved to be big fans and Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy even made it ringside.
And it wasn’t just Joshua’s antics inside the ring which had people applauding the champion. A short clip on Joshua’s Twitter page of him wishing his heavily bruised opponent all the best sparked more than 17,000 likes as people commended his sportsmanship.