Following his controversial victory against late replacement of Kubrat Pulev in front of 70,000 spectacles in Cardiff, the British boxers comes up with the next challenge to complete a dream season.
As most of the boxing betting bookmakers come to agree the 28-year-old boxer appears as one of the strongest favourites to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award for the very first time in his career. His tremendous 20-0 record in professional fights as well as the stunning performance and win over Wladimir Klitschko last April in Wembley stadium are definitely some of the key factor that made the difference.
Betway’s Alan Alger admits that “After a historic year in cementing his status at the best heavyweight in the world, it’s hard to look past the boxer for this year’s SPOTY”. Adding that “AJ’s popular appeal seems to have no bounds”.
If Joshua wins the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award he will become the first boxer to reach the elite since Joe Calzaghe in 2007. Moreover, If the 28-year-old Englishman does win SPOTY, which is voted for by the public and has been handed out annually since 1954, he would become just the fifth different boxer (and sixth overall) to do so.
Boxing’s previous SPOTY winners
Boxing’s first SPOTY was Henry Cooper, who won the award in 1967 after winning all three of his fights that year, most notably against Jack Bodell at Molineux.
After claiming the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight title belts, the Englishman became SPOTY’s first ever two-time winner in 1970.
Cooper remains one of only four people, alongside Andy Murray, Nigel Mansell and Damon Hill, to receive the award more than once.
Barry McGuigan was boxing’s next SPOTY in 1985, after winning his first world title against Eusebio Pedrosa on points in front of 27,000 fans at Loftus Road.
Born in the Republic of Ireland, McGuigan was the first ever winner to be born outside the UK.
Next up was Lennox Lewis, who won the award in 1999, a month after he defeated Evander Holyfield on points in Paradise, Nevada, to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
Joe Calzaghe triumphed in 2007, becoming Wales’ first Welsh SPOTY since show jumper David Broome in 1960.
Calzaghe ended the year as the undisputed king of the super-middleweight division, thanks to victories over Peter Manfredo Jr and Mikkel Kessler at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.