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Meet Anthony Joshua Who Was Ranked the World’s 2nd Active Heavyweight by BoxRec in 2022 

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In 2022, Anthony Joshua solidified his place among the boxing heavyweight elite by being ranked as the world’s second-best active heavyweight fighter by BoxRec, one of the most respected and authoritative boxing rankings entities. The British superstar trailed only the reigning unified champion Oleksandr Usyk in BoxRec’s year-end pound-for-pound ratings of the biggest and best heavyweights in the sport.

The #2 ranking capped an eventful and pivotal year for Joshua that saw him earn redemption with a sensational performance against Usyk, even though he came up just short of reclaiming the unified heavyweight titles. It showed that at age 33, the chiseled 6’6″ Joshua remained an elite force and one of the most dangerous and skilled big men in the heavyweight division.

“Being ranked #2 in the world by BoxRec is great,” Joshua said. “But I’m still super hungry to be #1 and become the three-belt heavyweight champion again. That’s my main focus and goal.”

Joshua entered 2022 looking to bounce back from one of the most disappointing losses of his career. In September 2021, he suffered a comprehensive unanimous decision defeat to the crafty Ukrainian Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. The setback cost Joshua three of the four most prestigious heavyweight titles – the WBA, IBF, and WBO belts.

To his immense credit, Joshua remained poised and professional in the aftermath of such a crushing defeat. He immediately exercised his rematch clause, setting up a sequel with the unorthodox southpaw Usyk. Joshua made the daring decision to part ways with his long-time trainer Rob McCracken and brought in new voices Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez.

Working with the new trainers, Joshua showed a completely revised tactical approach and game plan in his rematch with Usyk on August 20, 2022, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He cut off the ring with much more ferocity, let his hands go with higher volume, and fought with a higher guard to defend against Usyk’s fast combination punching.  

The end result was an incredibly close and competitive fight. Scorecards read 115-113, 116-112 for Usyk and 115-113 for Joshua. While Usyk did enough to retain his titles by split decision, Joshua gave as good as he got for long stretches and had the champion on the canvas twice in the 9th round.  

“I just want to shake your hand on that, because that was brilliant,” Joshua told Usyk in the ring after their grueling rematch. “It was a good 12-rounder. I look to be gracious in victory and defeat and I’ll come back again, trust me.”

Joshua’s performances against Usyk in their two fights showed he belonged at the very highest levels of the heavyweight division. His ability to make adjustments and push one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world to his limits further cemented his standing as one of the greatest heavyweight talents of this era.

It’s what led the highly-respected BoxRec rankings to place Joshua as the #2 heavyweight in the world at the end of 2022, trailing only Usyk who remained at #1. Joshua edged out the likes of Deontay Wilder (#3), Tyson Fury (#4), and Andy Ruiz Jr. (#5) in BoxRec’s final year-end ratings.

“Anthony Joshua demonstrated once again in 2022 that he is an exceptional heavyweight talent and a true warrior of the ring,” said BoxRec’s lead analyst Taylor Jones. “His ability to make the necessary adjustments and give Usyk all he could handle in their rematch affirmed that Joshua is operating at an elite level. Heavyweights don’t get much more skilled, determined, and dangerous than AJ.”

Joshua wasn’t the only one who saw the impressive strides he made in the Usyk rematch. Many respected voices from around boxing heaped praise on his performance and renewed standing as one of the very best in the sport’s marquee division.

“Joshua did everything asked of him against Usyk and then some,” said former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. “He made the adjustments, boxed with discipline and a huge heart. He fell just a bit short of recapturing the titles but he gained a ton of respect and solidified himself as one of the top heavyweights in the world. I’m excited to see what he does in 2023.”

What’s next for Joshua in 2023 remains to be seen, but there’s no shortage of potential high-profile opponents and title opportunities on the horizon. A third fight against Usyk could certainly be in the offing down the line if both fighters want it. There have also been talks about a hugely appealing undisputed heavyweight title clash between Joshua and Tyson Fury if both are victorious in their upcoming bouts.

However, Joshua’s immediate future may first involve a fight against the big-hitting Deontay Wilder who has expressed strong interest in facing him. A showdown between Joshua and Wilder – two of the most prolific knockout artists in heavyweight boxing today – would be guaranteed action and fireworks.

“I’d love that fight for sure,” Joshua said when asked about Wilder. “We’ve built a great rivalry and respect for each other outside of the ring. Why not settle it inside the ring in 2023 for all the belts?”

At this stage of his career, Joshua feels he is entering his physical and mental prime. Despite coming up short in recent tilts against Usyk for the unified heavyweight championships, Joshua’s confidence remains as high

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