Zlatan Ibrahimovic watched on as Anthony Joshua secured his 20th knockout victory in as many professional fights against Carlos Takam at the Prinicipality Stadium on Saturday night.
The Manchester United striker was one of the most illustrious names watching the world heavyweight champion from ringside as he looked to continue his destructive boxing career.
Joshua and Ibrahimovic had crossed paths before when the Watford fighter took part in a United training session at Carrington back in May. But this time it was Ibra who paid the visit.
Ibrahimovic is set to soon return from a long-term injury that has ruled the Swede out of action since April and spent his final weeks of recovery by being in awe of Joshua's huge and vocal fanbase.
The 28-year-old retained his WBA 'super' IBF belts against his Cameroon-born French opponent, despite appearing to have his nose broken early on in the fight.
It was far from Joshua's quickest and more efficient bouts that fight fans have become accustomed to in recent years. But, nonetheless, the world heavyweight champion got the job done.
Many assumed Takam would hit the canvas and be out within the opening few rounds, but it took until the 10th - Joshua's second-longest professional fight - for the defending champion to secure victory.
But while Joshua has the mental grit and determination to ride through tougher spells in a fight, perhaps Ibrahimovic's pre-fight presence in Joshua's dressing room may have made a difference.
Ibrahimovic praises Joshua
“It’s my first time to come and watch him and he’s the perfect example of how a boxer needs to be,” said Ibrahimovic, per the Mirror.
“He’s powerful, he has the movement, he’s a knockout artist. Even his personality is good because he is perfect and natural.
“There are positive vibes around him, he has good energy, he expresses himself very well. That’s why the people love him and that’s why he is the people’s champion.”
The former Sweden star has had a winning mentality throughout his trophy-laden career, which may have inspired Joshua across the line in Cardiff on Saturday night.
AJ reveals United star's advice
And Joshua revealed exactly what the United man said to him ahead of his world heavyweight title defence.
“He heard me say ‘I’m not perfect, but I’m trying’ and told me to say ‘I’m perfect and I’m not trying!” said Joshua.
It's the typical confidence-fuelled comment we've come to expect from Ibrahimovic, who earlier claimed: “He’s [Joshua] not yet as good a boxer as I am a footballer, but he’s getting there!”
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