LONDON - Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed Anthony Joshua as the people’s champion, even though the majority of the record 78,000 crowd in Cardiff on Saturday night booed what they saw as a premature stoppage of Carlos Takam.
The Manchester United striker, a visitor to Joshua’s dressing room in the Principality Stadium, said: "He’s the perfect example of how a boxer needs to be today. He’s powerful. He has the movement. He’s a knockout artist. Even the character. The personality is good because he’s perfect without trying.
"He has good vibes all around him. He has the energy. He expresses himself well. That’s why people love him. That’s why he is the people’s champion."
The people booed the stoppage but not Joshua, who will go on to stiffer challenges next year, not least against America’s WBC title-holder Deontay Wilder at some point. Ibrahimovic plans to be at those fights whenever possible.
However, he left AJ this night with a typically cheeky aside. When asked if Joshua is as good a boxer as Ibrahimovic is a footballer, the Swede replied: "Not yet. But he’s getting there."
As well as humour, there was an element of truth in the remark.