September 23, 2018

Joshua v Klitschko: Why Mihai Nistor won’t cash in on beating a champion

rgHe sits alone on a park bench, surrounded by an endless sprawl of discoloured communist-era apartment blocks.

As the midday commuter traffic bustles around him in this crowded suburb of the Romanian capital, Mihai Nistor is barely recognised by passers-by.

It’s just six years since Nistor stopped Anthony Joshua with a flurry of hard punches to the head in the third round of their fight at the European Amateur Championships in 2011 in Turkey, but since then their careers have taken starkly different paths.

This weekend Joshua will step into the ring at London’s Wembley Stadium to defend his IBF world heavyweight title in a unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

It will be one of the biggest fights in British boxing’s history, with 90,000 tickets expected to be sold, and both boxers will earn millions of pounds for a maximum 36 minutes of ring time.

Nistor, 26, will watch the fight from his couch in the modest Bucharest apartment he shares with his younger rugby player brother. He still boxes as an amateur and his salary of £1,200 ($1,500) per month is funded by the Romanian army.

But Nistor, from one of Europe’s poorest and most corrupt countries, insists he doesn’t dwell on the gulf between his income and Joshua’s.

“I don’t do this sport for money,” he says. “I do it for pleasure, because you don’t win if you are motivated by money,” he adds.

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