ANTHONY JOSHUA is a true heavyweight star. But long before he was fighting Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 people at Wembley Stadium, before he was making his professional debut at a lively O2 Arena in 2013, in 2008 Anthony Joshua made his amateur boxing debut for Finchley ABC in the backroom of a pub in North London. Kerry Duffy was ringside to see it.

“I remember turning up to the show and scanning the room, waiting for a glimpse of the fabled Anthony Joshua and this was before his first bout! We have all been thrilled to see him progress in to the sporting superstar he now is and I’m pleased to say I had a ringside seat to document the beginning of that rise,” Duffy said.

Read the first Anthony Joshua ringside report below:

FINCHLEY ABC hosted an action-packed evening of boxing on Thursday November 27 at the Boston Arms, Tufnell Park.

There was not a spare seat to be had as the crowd were treated to fourteen bouts of quality boxing, courtesy of Finchley’s matchmaker, Tracey Murphy.

The juniors started proceedings off with several memorable bouts including Finchley’s Simon Doherty’s impressive contest against Chris Fairbridge of Waltham Forest. Doherty came out of his corner all guns blazing and although Fairbridge fought hard to even things up, Doherty’s relentless pressure proved too much and after three rounds he was declared the winner.

Adam Chaima flew the flag for Finchley with his performance against Minater’s R. McKeown. Buoyed by the vocal support of his numerous family members, Chaima dominated the first round before coming out and stopping McKeown in the second, looking classy and assured whilst doing so.

Also another standout was the bout between Charlie Webb of St. Pancras and Pat Cash of St. Albans. Voted best junior bout of the night, the two boys entered in to the spirit of things with a non-stop display of action, both giving their all in the pursuit of victory. Cash took the unanimous decision from the judges, just doing more than his equally determined opponent.

Not to be outdone by the preceding bouts, the seniors produced several thrilling displays, none more so than Finchley’s Anthony Joshua, who on his debut left the ring to a new set of fans after stopping his opponent, Minateur’s Nathan Brede in the first round. The 18-year-old used his considerable 6’6” frame to maximum effect as he twice forced his man to a standing count before the referee came between them.

Dale Youth’s Rhys Newcombe nullified an energetic attack from Newham’s George Price to take a points victory at the end of three hard fought rounds. Displaying an impressive range of skills, Newcombe bobbed and weaved his way out of trouble before his accurate shots got the better of Price.

The evening was great success and a fitting showcase for all the hard work done at Finchley ABC.

Anthony Joshua

An edited version of the report was published in a later issue of Boxing News. The magazine has subsequently covered every step along the way, ringside for Joshua’s first amateur titles, to following him as he represented GB at international tournaments and fought his way to the top of the professional sport. Every week Boxing News has an amateur boxing section detailing the stars of the future. Click HERE to subscribe.