British Olympic super-heavyweight hopeful Anthony Joshua won the approval of countryman Lennox Lewis when he maintained the host’s 100 percent record at London 2012, edging a cracking contest against Cuban Erislandy Savon by the slenderest of margins.
Joshua, from Watford, Hertfordshire, moved into the last eight with a 17-16 victory over Savon — nephew of three-time Olympic heavyweight champion Felix Savon — at the ExCel on Wednesday. It was Team GB’s sixth straight success in the boxing competition.
Afterwards, former undisputed heavyweight titleholder Lewis, who won Olympic gold for Canada in 1988, was full of praise for the 22-year-old Englishman, tipping him to go all the way at these Games and then suggesting he has enough in his armory to do likewise in the professional ranks.
“That was a terrific fight and a terrific performance. I’m telling you, we’ve just seen the gold medal round,” said Lewis, working for BBC 5 Live radio. “Those right hands Joshua throws are knockout punches.
“He’s a got a lot of raw talent right now. What we have to do is harness that talent, work on it and add some boxing. Then he has the potential to be the next heavyweight world champion.”
6-feet-6 Joshua, who only took up boxing four years ago, was runner-up at the 2011 World Championships. He has rejected several big-money offers to turn professional in order to go for gold at his home Olympics. Lewis insists that was a good career move.
“He’s 100 percent right to concentrate on the Olympics and trying to win gold. I did the same thing. He’s following the same line,” said 46-year-old Lewis.
Savon, 22, can count himself extremely unlucky to be out of the tournament at the first hurdle. He looked the better fighter for much of the contest, only for the peculiariaties of the complex scoring system being used at the Games to rob him of the decision.
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