Roger Federer and Anthony Joshua have become accustomed to winning in their respective sports, but both suffered notable defeats on June 1 through the years.

Federer saw his hopes of a second successive title at the French Open dashed in 2010, while nine years later Joshua lost his heavyweight titles - and his perfect record - to Andy Ruiz.

The date has better memories for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, plus it is also memorable for marking the end of Shaquille O'Neal's stellar NBA career.

Take a look back at some of the great sporting moments to happen on this day.


2008 – Royals overcome Kings to be crowned

The inaugural IPL season concluded with a last-ball thriller. 

Rajasthan Royals, who were the top seeds at the end of the round-robin stage, just about overcame Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai, Sohail Tanvir the unlikely hero with the bat as he hit the single they required from the final delivery of the match.

Captain Shane Warne was also out in the middle for the winning run but Yusuf Pathan was the star performer for the Royals in the final, following up figures of 3-22 with the ball by making 56 in their successful chase. 

2010 – Federer's slam streak comes to an end

For a second successive year, Robin Soderling caused a huge upset at Roland Garros. 

The Swede had sensationally knocked out Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in 2009, though he went on to lose in the final to Federer. However, 12 months on, he gained revenge in the French capital, ending the champion's reign with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 win in their last-eight meeting.

With the loss, Federer saw his impressive run of reaching 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals come to an end. 

2011 – Shaq stops: NBA legend announces retirement

After a 19-year career that saw him score 28,596 points, O'Neal decided the time was right to retire. The man nicknamed 'The Big Diesel' had come to the end of the road.

Drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in 1992, the center won three successive titles after moving to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed up with Kobe Bryant.

O'Neal - voted the league's MVP in 2000 - won a further championship after switching to the Miami Heat. There were also stints with the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the latter stages before a final stop in Boston with the Celtics.

2019 – Replacement Ruiz stuns AJ in New York

Ruiz was not even originally due to be in the opposite corner to Joshua in Madison Square Garden.

The challenger was called in as a replacement when Jarrell Miller was removed from the headline act - and he seized the unexpected opportunity by producing a stunning result that sent shockwaves through the boxing world.

Joshua had won 22 straight as a pro and came into the bout as the IBF, WBA and WBO champion. However, he was dropped and stopped by Ruiz, who climbed off the canvas in the third round to sensationally turn the fight around. 

Anthony Joshua has ruled out the prospect of facing boxing great Mike Tyson on his return to the ring as he believes no fan would want to see the current heavyweight champion prevail.

Former undisputed world champion Tyson, now 53, is reportedly ready to fight again in exhibition and charity bouts.

And UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz and Joshua's heavyweight rival Tyson Fury both claim to have been offered bouts against 'Iron Mike'.

But Joshua, who reclaimed his IBF, WBA and WBO belts against Andy Ruiz Jr in December, is not interested in facing a legend of the sport.

"With all due respect, I wouldn't [fight Tyson]," he told The Sun.

"Even if I fought Iron Mike and beat him, I think I'd be the only one cheering. People would boo. He is a legend. He is the greatest boxer of the modern era.

"There are only two recognised champions the world knows of, [Muhammad] Ali and Mike Tyson, the most recognised faces in the world when it comes to boxing."

Joshua insists he also has respect for Fury, even as he aims to unify the division.

"I don't want to be in that position where I am talking down Tyson Fury," he said.

"He is a great person and he has done great things in boxing, but until the day we fight, that is where it ends and I don't have anything else to say about him.

"I really want the belt and that is where I stand with Tyson Fury."

Frank Warren thinks Anthony Joshua's promoters want to avoid a heavyweight unification fight with Tyson Fury as it would be too risky for their fighter.

Bob Arum, Fury's co-promoter along with Warren, has held preliminary talks with Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn over the prospect of a mouthwatering all-British bout.

WBC champion Fury faces a third fight with Deontay Wilder next, while Joshua is due to step into the ring with Kubrat Pulev after their bout - scheduled for June - was called off amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Warren believes the main issue getting in the way of a deal being agreed for Fury and Joshua to fight is Matchroom promoters do not want it to happen.

He told talkSPORT: "My concern, first and foremost, although they talk about it a lot, Matchroom, I don't think they want the fight. I don't think they want to put AJ in with Tyson, I really don't think so.

"I hear all the noises, but actions speak louder than words and at the moment it seems to me – and I'm not normally wrong on things like this – I've got a gut feeling they don't want it and I think that's for a reason.

"I think Tyson's the best heavyweight on the planet, there's no doubt about that, and it's a big risk for them. It's a feeling from me, I’ve never had any conversations [with Matchroom] because I don't deal with them.

"I know they've had talks with the MTK people [Fury's managers], I know there's also been conversations with Bob Arum, but I've told them all the way through this I don't think they want it.

"If Tyson, which I believe he will do, beats AJ, then they've got a problem."

Warren also revealed that an offer has been received for Fury to fight Wilder in the Far East, but refused to confirm Macau in China was the location.

"I can't say that [the offer is from Macau] at the moment, [but] it is from the Far East," he said.

"The fight will be back end of the year. All of the big fights are gonna be back end of the year."

Anthony Joshua concedes he will be a keen viewer if Mike Tyson makes a boxing comeback – naming the former heavyweight king as his "ultimate inspiration".

Tyson is reportedly ready to fight again at 53 in exhibition and charity bouts, with a series of his explosive pad workouts going viral on social media.

Old rival Evander Holyfield and 48-year-old fellow Brooklyn native Shannon Briggs have been touted as potential opponents, although there has also been plenty of concern voiced over whether a man with such a chequered past should be considering lacing gloves once more.

Speaking to British GQ, current IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua explained he was not surprised to see Tyson active again due to his fighting instinct.

"This is what we breathe. This is what we are. And especially someone like Iron Mike Tyson, that's all that man knows," he said.

"For everyone else it's a comeback, but for him it's just what he does. He's a fighter, right? He's probably just took a little break but for everybody else it’s like, 'Oh my God! Mike Tyson is making a comeback!'

"But for Mike Tyson it's like, 'This is what I do. I'm a fighter by nature'. So, if he's back in the ring then I would love to see it. I'd definitely be one of the viewers, that's for sure."

Tyson's whirlwind story combining ferocious knockouts, phenomenal achievements, controversies and disgrace means he remains one of the most recognisable sportsmen on the planet, and his exploits unquestionably resonated with Joshua, who explained he used to watch the American's hefty highlights reel on YouTube as a teenager.

"The guy took himself from his neighbourhood, which wasn't the prettiest of scenes, up to an amateur champion, to the youngest ever world heavyweight champion, to one of the most recognised faces of the sport of boxing," Joshua added.

"The only two faces I recognised in boxing, globally, are Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. They're the main faces of this sport, so from where he started to where he is now, he's my ultimate motivation.

"The reason I say that is because he was the closest guy to my generation, so he holds a special place in my heart."

Anthony Joshua views Tyson Fury as "just another fighter" as he seeks to solidify his heavyweight legacy.

Joshua regained the IBF, WBA and WBO titles with a lopsided points win over Andy Ruiz Jr last December, instantly avenging his shock knockout loss to the Mexican earlier in the year.

Two months later, Fury spectacularly dethroned Deontay Wilder to claim the WBC title, meaning there is considerable clamour for the two Britons to meet and decide an undisputed king of boxing's blue riband division.

Joshua understands the demand for what would be a blockbuster event, but refuses to place Fury – who recently said he would "batter" the Londoner – on a pedestal.

"There's going to be even bigger [fights] because I'm not going anywhere. I'm here to make history," he told British GQ.

"I'm hungry, I'm fired up. Fury's just another opponent at the end of the day.

"Yes it's going to be big for everyone else but I've got to keep myself together and I'm looking at Fury like he's just another fighter.

"But in terms of the spectacle, the trash talking, two juggernauts coming together – I can't wait.

"I've tasted what being at the top of the mountain feels like and I've tasted what being knocked off that mountain feels like and I've climbed my way back up.

"Whoever steps in front of me now will know I ain't looking to go back down. When I'm fighting Kubrat Pulev and I get the opportunity to fight with Tyson Fury for the WBC championship of the world, they're going to see what it feels like for a man to have had it all, lost it and got it back.

"A man who doesn't want to feel that turbulence again."

He added: "I can't really comment on Tyson Fury, to be honest. I've got my own opinions and views of that person but all I need to know is when I'm going to beat him and when I'm going to fight him."

Joshua was due to face IBF mandatory challenger Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

His promoter Eddie Hearn insists that bout, ideally in front of a UK stadium crowd later in the year, remains Joshua's immediate priority.

 "Wouldn't it be great to come through all this and stage a world heavyweight title fight in the UK this year? For us, that is the absolute focus and if that's taken out of our hands, we will look at other options around the world," he told Sky Sports.

Joshua beat Ruiz in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East could come to the fore as an alternative venue for his next outing, while Pulev's manager Ivaylo Gotsev claims to have secured financial backing to stage the bout at Pula Arena – a Roman amphitheatre in Croatia.

"Croatia is a potential option at this stage and just a part of wider discussions," Hearn added.

"Given the current uncertainty, I would expect to see him in the ring again end of September at the earliest, but more likely October or November as the restrictions hopefully start to ease."

Tyson Fury can go on to achieve whatever he wants in a heavyweight division that is "booming" right now, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

After much-publicised personal problems interrupted his career, Fury has returned to the pinnacle of the sport, becoming a two-time world champion in February when he sensationally stopped the previously unbeaten Deontay Wilder.

The stunning victory in Las Vegas secured the WBC title and Sulaiman is full of praise for the "very unique" British fighter - and not just because of his talents in the ring.

A third fight with Wilder is set to happen at some stage in the future, while Fury has also made clear his desire for a unification showdown with Anthony Joshua, who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO titles again after defeating Andy Ruiz Jr in their rematch late last year.

"The heavyweight division is booming. It's never been as interesting in the previous 20 years as it is now," Sulaiman, who was speaking to Stats Perform News courtesy of @trcksuits, said.

"Tyson Fury – what a story. What an unbelievable comeback from thinking of taking his own life to being WBC champion of the world.

"Knocking out Wilder, who had been champion for five years, undefeated with such a knockout record.

"You can see Tyson Fury doing anything that he puts his mind to. He is very powerful, very intelligent, very calm. He is very unique. I see him having all the elements to accomplish any of his dreams."

A third chapter in the Fury-Wilder rivalry seemed certain to happen in 2020, only for the coronavirus pandemic to put all boxing plans on hold.

Sulaiman confirmed to Stats Perform News that there is no "definite schedule" over when that fight will happen, though he hopes boxing can quickly pick up where it left off before the enforced break.

"As of today, there is no definite schedule for any world title fight," Sulaiman said.

"Wilder and Fury were scheduled to do a third fight, but everything that is going on is only informal communications that we cannot fully evaluate.

"So what I think is going to happen, is that the moment the first fight takes place, everything will start rolling, and the activity will start picking up.

"Hopefully the world will cure, hopefully there will be a vaccine. Hopefully we will all learn how to live in the next era and activity will get back to normal.

"We are tired of watching the replays from the World Cup and the great fights from the past. All the fans are waiting for fresh activity."

All roads lead to Tyson Fury for Kubrat Pulev, who is treating his fight with Anthony Joshua as a "war," according to manager Ivalyo Gotsev.

Pulev has the chance to become the first Bulgarian heavyweight champion when he faces Joshua for the Briton's WBA, IBF and WBO straps.

A new date and venue for the fight is still to be confirmed after the initial bout, scheduled for June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn has talked up the possibility of a two-fight deal with WBC champion Fury following his victory over Deontay Wilder.

But Gotsev has designs on a Pulev-Fury unification bout, though he is firmly focused on Joshua for the time being.

"We've got a little history going here, with Kubrat and British heavyweights. He's knocked off quite a few," Gotsev told Sky Sports.

"He shut up Derek Chisora, because he had a big mouth. That was great, then beating another Fury [Hughie], the little cousin was also a pretty good feat.

"That was the fight that qualified him to be the No 1 contender to Joshua, another British champion, so there is a little connection there.

"Kubrat versus UK, I like that. A little name for himself there, so yeah, let's deal with Joshua first. Let the best man win, and then we'll look at options with Tyson Fury.

"Either way, all roads lead to Fury. I can say that, because I think he's shown to be one of the supreme guys out there, if not the supreme guy.

"He is the man. It would be delightful to face the UK champions, one after another, wouldn't it.

"His mindset [for Joshua] is – we're going to war. Going to war, it's a lot of preparation, we know what's at stake.

"This is his chance to rise to the top and become the first and only heavyweight champion from our country, and that part of the world.

"It's a very exciting time for him and he's doing everything he has to do to get himself ready for this fight.

"It's going to be a formidable fight. They're the same height, same physical strength and let's see who is the better boxer now, and a better fighter of this era.

"Kubrat will present a great challenge for Joshua, that's all I can say."

Heavyweight rivals Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury could be set to meet twice in 2021, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.

The two world champions are seemingly closing in on meeting in the ring but, before they can face each other, both have other business to take care of.

Joshua is due to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev in a bout that was originally scheduled to take place at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, only to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As for Fury, the holder of the WBC belt, he is set to once again go up against Deontay Wilder in a third episode of their rivalry.

A recent media report suggested Wilder - who lost the title to Fury in their February rematch - could be willing to step aside to allow a unification showdown between the Brits to happen next, provided he is first in line for a crack at the winner.

While Hearn says Joshua has "no problem" signing a deal to face Fury, he explained why the fight is not expected to happen before the end of this year.

"I had a conversation [on Thursday] saying, 'Wilder is not stepping aside, we will take care of that fight, you take care of the Pulev fight, but let's get a deal done for 2021'," Hearn told Sky Sports.

"We have no problem signing now to fight Fury in 2021.

"It will work out better for both of them to box off those fights then have a clear route, subject to Dillian Whyte being mandatory to Fury, to get [an undisputed title fight] done."

Hearn also confirmed that any agreement is likely to include a rematch clause, setting up the potential for a hugely lucrative double-header between Joshua and Fury next year.

"It would probably be a two-fight deal," Hearn said. "Any deal between Fury and AJ, you run it twice.

"It is not a condition of the deal but it was in their deal with Deontay Wilder, and it is the biggest fight in boxing, so it is likely you will see that twice."

Fury confirmed in an Instagram Live on Thursday that he has no plans to pay Wilder to postpone a third clash, though Joshua is firmly in his sights.

"I'm going to take him out again for the third time, hopefully at the end of the year, and then we’re going to go into 2021 with the biggest fight in boxing history between two undefeated British heavyweights, me and AJ, and we're going to battle it out for all the gold," he said.

Kubrat Pulev's manager has revealed it will take no longer than three weeks to settle on a venue for the Bulgarian's heavyweight title fight with Anthony Joshua.

IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua and Pulev were due to do battle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Bob Arum, who represents Pulev, last weekend stated that the rearranged fight will definitely not be staged in the United Kingdom, given that spectators will not be allowed in.

Ivaylo Gotsev, Pulev's boss, says Pula Arena in Croatia or a fight in England are among the possibilities for where the fight will be held and a decision will be made in the next few weeks.

He told Sky Sports: "We've given ourselves four weeks to explore any and all opportunities that are there for the fight.

"Eddie [Joshua's promoter Hearn] has spoken to you about the Middle East, which is a great possibility. It makes sense, because those countries were not as hard affected and if you take the right precautions, we could really have a safe environment.

"That's something I want to emphasise, and I can't say it enough times - safety first. We don't want to take a risk against anyone's health, no way no how. Whatever makes most sense, wherever we can have the best conditions under the current terms we're living in, that's where we're going to go in.

"There you have it, we have about three more weeks left on the exploring and then we'll see where the best options lie."

Gotsev thinks a fight in Croatia is a great option.

He added: "Eddie is well aware of it - our team is aware of it. We're discussing it as a possibility.

"Why Croatia? Well, first of all, when you look at the map of Europe, it's right there in the centre of the map, and it makes sense for our continent to host the event, and also the venue itself is very inviting, because it's an open-air venue.

"You could take the proper precautions and the proper measurements to look after people's safety first. This is not, just go out there and have a fight. No, we've got to protect the people that are involved with the fight.

"From participants to the timekeepers, to the judges. All the stuff that's involved in production of such a big event, we're looking after their health, so we could take proper precautions there and protect everyone.

"Croatia is one of the countries that was not hit very hard, as we know, and also with proper measurements, that could be the case where we're not exposing everybody. An open-air stadium where you could spread out the crowd a little bit makes perfect sense."

Bob Arum says there is no chance Kubrat Pulev will "step aside" to allow Tyson Fury to fight Anthony Joshua next.

Mandatory challenger Pulev and IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua were set to step into the ring at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

WBC champion Fury's next fight is due to be another rematch with Deontay Wilder, yet there has been increasing talk of an all-British unification fight coming first.

Top Rank boss Arum, who represents Bulgarian veteran Pulev and promotes Fury in the United States, dismissed that possibility following his latest conversation with Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn on Saturday.

Arum revealed Joshua and Pulev look likely to do battle outside the United Kingdom later this year.

He told Bad Left Hook: "No step aside for Pulev.

"I talked to Eddie Hearn about Joshua vs Pulev. It looks like it can't be the UK, because there couldn't be spectators.

"There looks like there are a couple other possibilities [for where the fight will take place]. It's probably not gonna take place until later this year. And definitely not the UK.

"Also, for Fury versus Wilder, that's looking like the fourth quarter."

Tyson Fury had boxing fans on red alert after announcing "massive, massive news" is imminent during an Instagram live session.

The unbeaten Briton was due to face a trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder, the man whose WBC heavyweight strap he took in emphatic fashion in February, later this year but plans were put on the backburner due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Talks have since reportedly been taking place between the teams of Fury and domestic rival Anthony Joshua – the WBA, IBF and WBO champion – over a huge undisputed title fight abroad before the end of 2020.

With Joshua's scrap with Kubrat Pulev having also been curtailed, negotiations over such a fight are sure to be wrought with complications.

It remains to be seen what is on the agenda for both Brits but Fury said he had taken a call from MTK, his management company, and that something big is on the horizon.

"We've got some massive news coming soon. Some massive, massive news," Fury said. 

"I was just on the phone to the old MTK and we've got some massive news coming for you all. Very, very soon so keep an eye out for it all."

Kubrat Pulev has vowed to "brutally" beat "coward" Anthony Joshua and believes the Brit is "afraid" to fight him outside of his homeland.

IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua and mandatory challenger Pulev were due to do battle at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 20, but the coronavirus pandemic put paid to that.

Pulev was first set to step into the ring with Joshua in 2017 only for the Bulgarian to withdraw due to injury.

Talk of a unification bout between Joshua and Tyson Fury has intensified, but Pulev warned that will not be happening as he will dethrone the 2012 Olympic champion.

"I'm way more precise than him as well as a much smarter boxer. And I will beat him. Brutally," he told Sky Sports.

Pulev says Joshua's demands to stage the fight in London shows he is concerned about losing his titles.

He added: "There's no such thing as an ideal location for a true fighter. He can fight everywhere and he's not worried about anything.

"Picking a certain destination is for cowards. For those who prefer to talk a lot rather than act.

"I can think of at least two others who fit this description and who have refused to come to Sofia to face me - Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller."

He added: "I think it is obvious - because he's afraid. I don't see any other reason [why Joshua says they must fight in London].

"Why should it be in London? Why the fight can't take place in any other place? You answer this.

"We offered various destinations - from Istanbul to Las Vegas, New York or Saudi Arabia. And then I got the reply that Joshua would come up against me only in London. Otherwise there would be no fight at all. And of course, I agreed to this condition.

"I'm not concerned about the place. For example, I never asked for the fight to be in Sofia. From day one I wanted it to take place at a neutral venue as this would be fair to both sides."

Tyson Fury said he would "fight in Timbuktu if the money's right" after it was reported talks over a unification fight with Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia are under way.

Fury's next bout is due to be another rematch with Deontay Wilder later this year, while Joshua was set to fight Kubrat Pulev on June 20 but that was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With uncertainty over when major sporting action can resume amid the COVID-19 crisis and Wilder recovering from bicep surgery, there has been increased talk of an all-British showdown between Joshua and Fury coming next.

Joshua regained the IBF, WBA and WBO titles in Diriyah last December, where he avenged his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr with a lopsided points triumph, and Fury says he would be willing to fight anywhere if the finances are right.

The WBC champion told ESPN: "I'll fight in Timbuktu if the money's right. I have a bag and I will travel."

Eddie Hearn, Joshua's promoter, confirmed negotiations with Fury's representatives MTK Global have taken place.

"We're talking to MTK about where that fight would take place," he told ESPN. "At the moment, the main focus for everybody [is] the contractual situations."

He added: "The conversations between myself and MTK are that we've had an approach. We've had a number of approaches from territories to stage that fight.

"So the only discussions at the moment are where this fight takes place - and we don't even know when this fight could take place.

"We're certainly open to have discussions about the possibility of this happening this year or in the next fight.

"There's more chance at the moment that the bigger money could come next year because we don't even know if we can do live crowds in November, December."

Tens of thousands of jubilant fans cheering, shouting and singing in unison is one of the most appealing an enduring aspects of major sporting events – an experience of communal joy so lacking in today's altered reality.

However, the most striking memory from Anthony Joshua's bravura display against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley three years ago is not the delirium that followed a stunning 11th-round victory.

That came in round five, when British boxing's golden boy crashed to the canvas as he appeared to be unravelling entirely under the great Klitschko's veteran fists. Heard from the media seats, the sound of 90,000 people gasping into a worried silence was unlike anything else.

As it transpired, Joshua regained his senses and harnessed a first significant brush with adversity to pummel his way to the sweetest of triumphs in a heavyweight fight for the ages.

On that night at England's national stadium, a mere 10 miles from the Finchley ABC gym where he first laced up gloves, Joshua was the man. Similarly, unbeaten knockout artist Deontay Wilder did not have a comparable victory on his record and the heavyweight division's other undefeated champion was in a period of torrid absentia.

"Tyson Fury, where you at, baby?" hollered Joshua in the ring afterwards, drunk on adrenaline and solid right hands.

"Come on - that's what they want to see. I just want to fight everyone. I'm really enjoying this right now."


For a chunk of the intervening years, an argument can be made that Joshua was guided by the magnitude of his heroics against Klitschko, as opposed to the factors that landed him in trouble in the first place. He would suffer accordingly.

For that 19th professional bout, Joshua weighed a career heaviest 17st 12lbs. At least, that was until he put on four more pounds for his next outing against Carlos Takam, staged at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

That laboured 10-round triumph was followed by a points win over Joseph Parker to add the WBO title to his IBF and WBA straps. Joshua going the distance for the first time in his career was the most notable aspect in an impressive, yet cagey and rather forgettable win.

Back at Wembley on a sodden September evening in 2018, the champion overcame early problems and a bloodied nose against Alexander Povetkin to almost deposit the veteran Russian through the ropes in round seven.

Once again there was vulnerability and drama from British boxing's box office star on the biggest stage. But there was a mounting problem when it came to giving the people what they wanted. Like Takam and Parker, Povetkin was a fine and worthy foe. But he wasn't Fury and Wilder.


The cynical opportunism big-time boxing does better than any other sport was emphatically on show when Wilder's December 2018 showdown with Fury was confirmed on the same day Joshua fought Povetkin. It marked a shift in the heavyweight division's centre of gravity.

However much Joshua's team had sought a Wilder bout through increasingly fractious and public negotiations, the other two members of the big three facing one another reflected badly on their man in the court of public opinion.

Wilder would also be proved guilty of a miscalculation. Now the dust has settled on two unforgettable bouts with Fury, it is easy to forget what a rank outsider the 'Gypsy King' was going into their initial meeting at Los Angeles' Staples Center.

Yes, he was the man who beat the man, having dethroned Klitschko in November 2015, but personal issues temporarily halted his career.

That Fury returned to the prize ring at all was an achievement and bouts lacking any particular merit against Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta should be viewed in that context. Before taking on Wilder, Fury had not had a meaningful bout in three years.

And yet, he had the better of the majority of the fight, even after being put down in round nine. All of that was a mere warm-up for a scarcely credible 12th – Fury rising improbably and cinematically from a brutal knockdown to reach the final bell and be rightly disappointed by a split-decision draw.

Both men marked time in 2019. Wilder inflicting his stupefying power upon Dominic Breazeale and Luis Ortiz, while Fury banked a pair of high-reward/low-risk wins on American soil against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin.

In between those two wins, Joshua showed winning Stateside with the deck stacked in your favour offered no guarantees.


AJ was a couple of pounds lighter than when he fought Klitschko as he ponderously pawed his way through the opening two rounds against late replacement Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden.

Still, his shuddering muscularity found a wonderful combination to deck the Mexican in the third. The juggernaut appeared to be charging on until a stunning derailment.

Just as he had done against Klitschko, Joshua surged in for the finish, only to get caught himself. Scrambled from a shot to the temple, he crumpled to the canvas. He was back there again by the end of the round.

Unlike at Wembley, the senses did not clear. The powers of recovery failed him.

Despite being inferior to Klitschko in just about every department, Ruiz did not share the Ukrainian's innate caution. His fast hands continued to fly, a befuddled Joshua went down twice more in round seven and the heavyweight division had its biggest upset since James 'Buster' Douglas beat Mike Tyson.


Now, of course, all four major belts are locked down in the United Kingdom.

After out-boxing Wilder first time around, Fury simply beat up his foe in February to win the WBC title – a win that, aligned with his Klitschko triumph, gives him a resume to compete with many of the most celebrated big men in history.

Joshua heeded the lessons he should have learned in the haze of his post-Wembley triumph by coming in 10 pounds lighter for the return with Ruiz, jabbing and moving with a nimble speed not seen since his early days in the professional ranks. 

You can only beat what's in front of you. And there was an awful lot of Ruiz in front of him. A title won in the gym and the ring six months earlier was partially lost by failing to count calories.

Joshua bears no responsibility for his opponent's unprofessionalism and becoming the fourth man to regain the heavyweight title in an immediate rematch after Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis puts him in esteemed company.

Nevertheless, the topsy-turvy triumph over Klitschko still shines brightest on his 24-fight record. If this remains the case, it will mean Fury, or maybe even the vanquished Wilder, have ended this resurgent heavyweight era on top. Once mandatory obligations are satisfied, those are the fights Joshua needs more than ever.

Everything felt possible for Joshua after his famous Wembley night and that is still broadly true. But if he is to top that dizzying high and follow the trajectory that seemed so certain back then, there is work to be done.

Anthony Joshua will be hopeful of a huge heavyweight unification bout in the near future, but April 29 offers a chance to reflect on one of his greatest achievements.

A bout with IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in June has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and Joshua will be keen to soon offer fans in the United Kingdom another taste of the thrills he supplied against Wladimir Klitschko on this day three years ago.

The Briton claimed a victory that effectively retired one of the sport's all-time greats after a fight for the ages.

We look back at that and other memorable events to occur on April 29 down the years.


1985 – Taylor takes 'black ball final'

Steve Davis was at the peak of his powers and headed into the 1985 World Snooker Championship at the top of the world rankings and having won three of the previous four editions.

After winning every frame in the opening session, Davis took an 8-0 lead over Dennis Taylor at the start of the second.

However, Taylor rallied and managed to tie the match at 11-11 on the second day and he refused to go away, reeling in Davis again to force a 35th and final frame.

It lasted a tense 68 minutes and continued into the early hours of Monday morning, with Taylor coming from 62-44 down to ensure the title would be decided by the final ball.

Taylor was the man to sink it on his fourth shot, lifting the trophy for the first and only time in his career.

2006 – Texans leave Bush on the board

Having gained 2,000 all-purpose yards in his junior year at the University of Southern California, won the Heisman Trophy – though he was later stripped of it – and clocked a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds in USC's post-season pro day showcase, Reggie Bush was tipped to be the top pick in the draft.

He even signed an endorsement deal with Adidas in the days leading up to the event.

However, the Houston Texans took the much-derided decision to overlook Bush and take defensive end Mario Williams out of North Carolina State University.

Bush was taken second overall by the New Orleans Saints and was part of their success at Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season.

Williams went on to justify the pick with four Pro Bowl selections and Bush failed to live up to the heights he was tipped for.

2007 – Surrey world record

Ali Brown and James Benning earned Surrey a place in the record books with a gargantuan total against Gloucestershire in a One-Day Cup match.

The Surrey openers shared an opening stand of 294 before Brown, whose century came off just 50 deliveries and racked up 20 fours and eight sixes, was finally dismissed for 176 off 97 balls.

Benning reached 152 but fell to Anthony Ireland after 134 balls, though there was no let up for the visitors.

Rikki Clarke blasted an unbeaten 82 off just 28 deliveries – plundering nine fours and six maximums to lead Surrey to 496-4. It remains the highest innings score by any team in a limited-overs game.

Gloucestershire were skittled for 239 after 34.1 overs, with Surrey consequently claiming a crushing 257-run triumph.

2017 – Joshua clinches statement victory

After beating Charles Martin for the IBF heavyweight title in April 2016, Joshua enjoyed comfortable defences against Dominic Breazeale and Eric Molina.

The biggest test of his career was next and it came at a sold-out Wembley against Klitschko, who had dominated the division for the best part of a decade until a shock loss to Tyson Fury in November 2015.

Joshua scored the first knockdown in round five but was sent to the canvas by a resurgent Klitschko in the next session.

Questions had been asked about whether Joshua had the stamina to last the distance given he had not previously been required to go beyond the seventh round.

Despite looking wobbly at points, the Briton had enough in the tank to send Klitschko down two times in the 11th before the referee called a stop to the fight to hand him the vacant WBA belt in addition to his IBF strap.

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