Anthony Joshua became the IBF world heavyweight champion in just his 16th professional fight when he steamrolled Charles Martin.
Three fights later, he battled Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF, IBO and WBA (Super) world titles at Wembley stadium.
Two-time world champion Klitschko was coming off a shock loss at the hands of Tyson Fury. It was accepted that the Ukrainian was past his peak when he faced AJ. But not many anticipated how explosive a fight they would treat fans to. In what was one of the most thrilling fights of their respective careers, both suffered knockdowns inside the opening six rounds.
Joshua was able to recover the better of the two, as he stopped Klitschko in the eleventh after dropping the veteran two more times.
Boxing cards really do hinge on their main event. Nights can be saved if the headline bout is a good watch, yet events can be hampered just as quickly if the big-name fight underdelivers. Promoters cannot get away with just relying on their main event nowadays, with fans demanding a strong undercard as well. Though when you get a main event as good as AJ vs Klitschko, all that comes before it is forgotten. With that said, here’s a look back at who appeared further down the card at Wembley…
Joe Cordina vs Sergej Vib
‘The Welsh Wizard’ got the night off to a bang. Cordina was a respected amateur, having won a gold medal as a lightweight at the European Championships in 2015. This bout at Wembley was only his second fight since turning professional. He stepped in with 23-year-old Vib, who had a 7-7 record (four wins via TKO/KO). Cordina was able to make light work of his inferior opponent, stopping Vib inside the opening round. Fast forward to today, Cordina has overcome an injury to his right hand to become IBF world champion at super-featherweight. He blasted out Kenichi Ogawa earlier this year to pick up the strap.
Katie Taylor vs Nina Meinke
Now recognised as one of the best female fighters of all time, Taylor won her first title in the pro game in her fifth fight.
Perhaps more importantly, her bout against Meinke was an eliminator for the WBA female lightweight title. Taylor displayed her quality from the get-go, leaving her opponent reeling with her stinging jab. Meinke was cut in the fifth round and after a barrage of shots in the seventh, the contest was waved off and Taylor had her hand raised.
After winning several gold medals as an amateur, there were high expectations of Taylor as a pro. We now know that she has been able to outdo all hopes people had of he. Taylor’s career highlight came earlier this year with her victory over Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden.
Luke Campbell vs Darleys Perez
‘Cool Hand’ was the third respected amateur to appear on the Joshua-Klitschko card. Campbell turned professional in 2015 after winning a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. He also picked up medals at the World Championships (silver) and European Championships (gold). His first professional defeat came in surprising fashion via split decision against Frenchman Yvan Mendy on the Joshua-Dillian Whyte undercard in 2015. The Hull-born fighter recovered from his loss, winning his next four fights in a comfortable manner. This set him up for a WBA world title eliminator at Wembley against Perez. The Colombian started well, but he could not keep up the pace. The home boxer was ahead on points when the bout was stopped in the ninth with Perez suffering an injury to his left arm. Campbell went on to lose his world title shot against Jorge Linares later in 2017. He retired in 2021 following back-to-back defeats against two quality opponents in Vasiliy Lomachenko and Ryan Garcia.
Scott Quigg vs Viorel Simion
The chief support for Joshua-Klitschko was Quigg’s fight against Romanian Simion. This was the Manchester-born fighter’s first bout with the legendary Freddie Roach as his trainer. He had previously been guided by Joe Gallagher. His split with Gallagher came a few months after his first career loss at Manchester Arena against Carl Frampton. His WBA (Regular) super-bantamweight title was on the line versus the IBF champion. Quigg was at featherweight when the fight against Simion came around. In an IBF world title eliminator, the Mancunian did enough to win comfortably via unanimous decision. Simion proved to be a durable opponent who had bright moments here and there. Quigg proved to be too good for the visiting fighter though. Almost a year later, Quigg lost for a second time as a professional. WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez got the better of the Brit on points when they met at the StubHub Center in California. Quigg’s long career caught up with him two fights later when he was beaten by Jono Carroll, who sent the former WBA (Regular) champion into retirement.
The article Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko: Joe Cordina among four overlooked boxers on Wembley undercard appeared first on Planetsport.com.