Lennox Lewis heads list of British boxers who have suffered a setback like Anthony Joshua
By Chris Walker
Last Updated: 08/06/19 7:56am
After Anthony Joshua's unbeaten record was ended by Andy Ruiz Jr, we look at how other Brits responded to their first defeat.
Joshua's world titles were ripped away by Ruiz Jr as Britain's heavyweight star was dropped and stopped in seven rounds on his American debut at New York's Madison Square Garden.
But how will he react?
Here's a list of his fellow countrymen who also endured a similarly painful setback.
Very few question marks existed regarding Lennox Lewis on his rise to heavyweight glory. An outstanding amateur who captured gold at the 1988 Olympics representing Canada, Lewis turned pro in Britain, the nation of his birth, and his quest for supremacy began in devastating fashion as he blitzed his way through a cast of decent contenders.
Domestic and continental honours were secured the start of the 1990s, and after grabbing the WBC belt following Riddick Bowe's decision to discard it, Lewis was riding high until he ran into Oliver McCall in September 1994.
Flattened in two rounds, Lewis surrendered his world title and doubts about his chin started to gather pace. In his first fight back, with many stating he couldn't hold a shot, Lewis destroyed Lionel Butler on his second journey to the heavyweight crown.
Further wins over Tommy Morrison and Ray Mercer followed, and in 1997, Lewis took on McCall again and exacted revenge as the volatile Chicagoan refused to fight back, forcing Mills Lane to stop the fight in session number five.
A darling of British boxing after surprising everybody to win gold at the Sydney Olympics, Audley Harrison rejuvenated the mood about boxing in this country.
Blitzing his way through mediocre opposition that included British journeymen and club fighters from America, Harrison bolstered his record in quick time without ever really testing himself. He won the WBF heavyweight title in 2004 by defeating Holland's Richard Hersisia in four rounds, but his first stern examination came one year later against Danny Williams, when he lost for the first time via split decision after being dropped.
Despite Williams being a shrewd operator when the occasion suited him, and also a former world title challenger, Harrison was expected to have too much for his domestic rival. His immediate comeback ended in defeat when Dominick Guinn, an ordinary fighter, outpointed him, but he would get revenge on Williams just months after the Guinn loss. Successes in Prizefighter and a European title win over Michael Sprott brought Harrison a world title shot against David Haye where he was blasted in three rounds, but it was the original loss to Williams that convinced everyone that Harrison would never quite go all the way.
A teenage phenomenon who lit up the 2004 Olympics before falling short in the final against Cuban great, Mario Kindelan, Amir Khan made a nation fall in love with him as his unlikely heroics almost brought home a gold medal. After finally signing professional, Khan tore through the rankings, but cracks appeared regularly on the way up as he was repeatedly dropped against fighters not renowned for heavy-handedness. In 2008, Khan, now a PPV attraction, welcomed Breidis Prescott to the Manchester Arena and was stopped in less than a minute.
Needing to restore credibility, Khan had a brief run out against Oisin Fagan three months later, but his next two fights demonstrated huge character. Khan took on a faded Marco Antonio Barrera in March 2009, a fight he dominated, and then that summer, Khan widely outpointed Andriy Kotelnik to win the WBA world title at 140lbs. An exciting career on both sides of the Atlantic took off, and although Khan would endure more misery later in his career, for a short period, he was the man to beat at super-lightweight after rebounding brilliantly from his first loss.
David Haye was expected to go far thanks to his blistering hand speed and explosive power. Haye was intent on testing himself early and after 10 fights, he decided to go up against former world champion, Carl Thompson. It was a decision that had disastrous results as Haye ran out of gas and was stopped in five rounds.
Following the loss, Haye had no intention of leaping back into the fire and he began to build further experience to prepare him for life at the top. A win over Valeri Semiskur got him back to winning ways and he followed that up by halting Garry Delaney and Glen Kelly. The acid test for Haye came 15 months after Thompson, and he passed it brilliantly as he blew away Alexander Gurov for the European cruiserweight belt. Haye would go on to become a two-weight world champion after the Thompson defeat, so it's apparent that major lessons were learnt.
Liverpool's David Price appeared certain for super stardom following a professional apprenticeship built on nothing but fire and aggression. Taking on a steady diet of journeymen and past champions, Price blitzed his way through the rankings becoming a sell-out attraction in his home city as he destroyed names like Audley Harrison, Matt Skelton and Sam Sexton. Seemingly next to put his head on the chopping board was Washington D.C.'s Tony Thompson, but the former world title challenger had other ideas.
Stopping Price in two rounds courtesy of a well-timed counter, Thompson had caused a seismic upset, and he repeated the result five months later in the summer of 2013. Further defeats over the years to Christian Hammer, Alexander Povetkin and Sergey Kuzmin have dented Price's dream of a world title, but the heavyweight banger is still around and hasn't given up hope of one last big opportunity as he prepares to face Dave Allen on July 20, live on Sky Box Office.
Britain's first Olympic gold medallist to capture a world title, James DeGale knows all about doing things the hard way as he rebounded from an early career loss to George Groves to go on and carve out a brilliant career that brought many glories. Fast-tracked from his debut, DeGale was British champion before his fight total had even reached double figures, and in fight number 11, he was fighting on PPV against his old amateur club-mate, now turned dreaded rival.
DeGale lost to Groves by the narrowest of margin, but his comeback took him all the way to the top. First fight after Groves, DeGale was continental champion after a hard-fought fight with Poland's Piotr Wilczewski, and although many promotional changes took his career in a variety of directions, DeGale claimed the big one when he outpointed the excellent American, Andre Dirrell, for the vacant IBF world title at super-middleweight. Further losses would follow for DeGale as a long and hard career took its toll on his body, but his ability to bounce back from multiple setbacks is one of "Chunky's" standout attributes.