Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) has a new fan in the former “baddest man on the planet”.
Mike Tyson praised the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion on his Hotboxin’ Podcast but wouldn’t be drawn on whether he thought he could beat the big Brit in his prime.
Tyson won the WBC heavyweight championship with his two-round destruction of Trevor Berbick in November 1986 to become the youngest heavyweight champion of all time at just 20. The following year he annexed James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith’s WBA title with a 12-round points win, defended his dual straps against Pinklon Thomas by TKO6 and added Tony Tucker’s IBF belt to his collection with another wide 12-round decision, making him the undisputed champion at 21.
Joshua is carving his own reputation out for himself. The 29-year-old has defeated Wladimir Klitschko, Dominic Breazeale, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker, Carlos Takam and Eric Molina since picking up the vacant IBF title from Charles Martin in April 2016. His wins over Klitschko and Parker earned him the WBA and WBO world titles respectively.
Joshua is preparing for his US debut against Californian Andy Ruiz Jr 32-1 (21) at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden on June 1.
“Hey, I really like him,” Tyson said. “You know what he is? He’s really a breath of fresh air.
“He’s really clean, he really looks clean, he’s a clean guy, he’s a clean fighter, he’s a good puncher.
“You just wish the best for him.”
But could Tyson beat him?
“I don’t know. My ego says, ‘nobody would beat you’,” Tyson continued.
“But you look at him and–” Tyson paused, adding: “He just looks beautiful!
“He just looks like a fighter, you know? He looks like he was born to do what he has to do.
“He needs more experience of course, but that will come in life.”