Joshua at home on biggest stages five years on from Wembley bow

As he prepares to make his American debut against Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden, there can be no doubt Anthony Joshua is firmly accustomed to the biggest stages.

While many boxers toil away at little-known venues early in their careers, Joshua's first professional fight was at London's O2 Arena.

What is more, he was in action at Wembley Stadium - albeit in an early slot on the undercard of Carl Froch's second clash with George Groves - for only his sixth bout.

That contest occurred exactly five years ago, on May 31, 2014, and saw the continuation of what was quickly becoming a familiar pattern as Matt Legg was brutally dismantled in 83 seconds.

Two vicious uppercuts proved decisive as Joshua responded in devastating fashion to an enthusiastic start from his opponent, who was 38 at the time and has not fought since.

Speaking two years on from his loss to Joshua, Legg told Sky Sports: "I got a broken eye socket. When I tried to get up I couldn't even see. I had three months of nerve damage in the side of my face. The power of his punches goes through your gloves, there's nowhere to hide."

Wembley was far from full on that occasion, with the up-and-coming star of British boxing understandably in action several hours before the main event.

However, fast forward to the present day and fights in front of huge crowds have become the norm for Joshua, whose previous four contests - against Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin - have all taken place at the national stadiums of England and Wales.

The brutal uppercut that finished off Legg has also grown increasingly familiar. A similar punch ended the defiance of Dillian Whyte at the O2 in December 2015, while it was a rising vertical blow that famously provided the most dramatic of turning points in Joshua's Wembley win over Klitschko just over two years ago.

That latter success emphasised Joshua's ability to thrive under pressure and he is highly unlikely to be daunted by the prospect of a first fight outside the UK, particularly when he is such a strong favourite against Ruiz.

Five years on from his eye-catching Wembley debut, do not be surprised if he makes another statement in front of a new audience.

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