In the 21st century, the sport of professional boxing has become a multi-billion dollar commercial enterprise. Over the years, it has produced some of the most iconic and famous athletes across the globe. In particular, it is the heavyweight division that is the most popular among combat sports fans.
Klitschko holds the record of beating the most boxers during his reign as world heavyweight champion, with 23 wins. He also holds the record for the longest cumulative heavyweight title reign of all time, with 4,382 days as world champion. The Ukrainian is a true legend of the sport and dominated the heavyweight division for over a decade during his tenure.
The United Kingdom's love for boxing
Boxing is extremely popular in the United Kingdom, and the country has produced some world-class talent over the years. The British media makes sure that the spotlight shines bright on every young heavyweight prospect coming out of their country.
So when Anthony Joshua won a Gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012, people immediately took notice and started to pin their hopes on the young boxer from Watford.
Since the 2012 Olympics, Anthony Joshua went on to become the British Champion (2015), IBO Champion (2015), IBF Champion (2016). After eighteen wins as a professional boxer, he had the chance to become the WBA Champion too. However, to do so, Joshua needed to go through one of the greatest heavyweights of all time – Wladimir Klitschko.
Following his fight against Dillian Whyte in 2015, the BBC production team followed Anthony Joshua over two years on his journey to the very pinnacle of boxing's most dangerous division. They kept a close eye as he eventually became the two-time Unified World Heavyweight Champion, and came up with an incredible documentary called Anthony Joshua: The Road to Klitschko.
The story's climax revolves around the fight between Joshua and former World Champion Wladimir Klitschko, and the bout is still regarded as one the greatest fights in professional boxing.
Anthony Joshua's journey to the pinnacle of professional heavyweight boxing
The documentary gives us a glimpse of Anthony Joshua's professional and private lives, and tracks his growth as he develops into one of the greatest boxers of the modern era.
The documentary reveals a lot of traits about the British professional boxer. We can see how down-to-earth, respectful, focused, and most importantly disciplined Joshua is both inside and outside the ring.
The documentary also delves into the lives of Joshua's whole team. The group is a close-knit set of friends - Freddie, Skins, Benny, and KD, as well as manager Eddie Hearn. These are the people who are always by his side, no matter what. Throughout the documentary, Joshua keeps reminding us that he hasn't forgotten his roots.
In an expression of sheer gratitude, Anthony Joshua surprised Sean Murphy, who is the trainer who first convinced him to take boxing seriously, with a brand new car. Joshua revealed that when he was young, he'd go around smoking and drinking until Murphy told him that he needs to quit those vices if he wants to make it big in the world of boxing.
Anthony Joshua is also seen hanging out with the likes of current Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho, Watford striker Troy Deeney, and Hollywood actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the documentary. The Rock and Anthony Joshua are seen discussing their respective newborns.
Display of mutual respect between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko
Anthony Joshua first met Klitschko at the latter's training camp when he was a teenager. Throughout the documentary, Klitschko and Joshua have been shown together multiple times, and what has shone through every time the pair interacted is the display of mutual respect.
Anthony Joshua: The Road to Klitschko doesn't try to hype the fight with negative promotion or by showing elements of animosity between the fighters. Instead, it beautifully captures the true essence of how the sport should be and how two fighters can compete inside the ring even though they're friends outside of it.
The emotional journey for both Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko reaches an epic conclusion when the boxers walk out in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium. Millions watch across the world, waiting with bated breath to find out who will reign supreme in the biggest live event in the history of British boxing.
The final sequence, where Joshua narrates the fight with Klitschko, is what is most impressive, due to the brilliant and unusual technique of storytelling. One gets the chance to be in the shoes of Klitschko, standing in the middle of the ring with Joshua.
Overall, Anthony Joshua: The Road to Klitschko is an entertaining as well as insightful documentary that promotes and projects boxing as a sport where respect between competitors is paramount. The film also provides its fair share of thrills when Joshua and Klitschko throw down at the Wembley Stadium in front of 90,000 spectators.
Combat sports fans in India can stream Anthony Joshua: The Road to Klitschko exclusively on Discovery Plus.
Published 10 Nov 2020, 18:54 IST