Reviewed by Ant Turton
On Friday evening (12 May 2017) I travelled to Salford Quays in Manchester and the Lowry Theatre for an evening with Anthony Joshua, fresh from watching his recent clash with Wladimir Klitschko. Being a keen boxing fan in general, it was an event I was excited to be attending.
The Lowry is a beautiful theatre nestled on the water’s edge and a venue I have visited many times before, once again the parking was easy in the multi-story car park and reasonably priced at four pounds for the four hours I was there.
With a little traffic on route I was relieved to arrive with only ten minutes to spare, although after a quick walk to the venue I was happy to be told there was a delay so the panic was over.
With time to spare I enjoyed a refreshing drink in the lively bar area amongst a very energetic crowd of fans willing the theatre doors to open and take our seats.
We were invited to take our seats about 9PM, with the original start time planned for 8PM, this was not too much of a problem for most of the audience but I did hear a few disgruntled people comment on being made to wait. For me personally after being stuck in traffic on my own journey I totally understood the situation.
To warm up the crowd, which surprisingly was rather small, we had a performance from a dance act called ASH (aim sky high) a very talented and highly energetic group and a very enjoyable watch.
Charlie Hale, the evening’s MC who is a TV comedian, radio presenter and MC to some of the biggest sports stars was in fine form keeping us entertained whilst we waited for the main man himself, with some funny jokes, stories and some fine impressions, especially Tyson Fury!
Before Anthony took the stage, there was an auction for some fascinating items up for grabs, signed by some huge names in the world of sport from Mike Tyson, Conner McGregor and much to the delight of some Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona and Paul Pogba.
With the call from Charlie that it was time for ‘AJ’ to take the stage the atmosphere lifted and the audience were upstanding for the current Heavyweight champion of the world, my first thought after being only several seats from the stage was how big the young man is, on the television he is an awesome figure of a man, but so close up he was an absolute mountain.
The general impression as a fan I get when I have heard the champ speak previously is one of a gentle and humble man, an opinion after seeing him personally which has only got bigger. He really is an honest, hardworking, dedicated and caring man, his fondness for his family, friends and coaching staff is second to none and one that has served him well up to now in his glittering career.
He spoke for about 50 minutes with Charlie openly and honestly about his journey from the amateur scene, through the Olympics and up to his epic battle with Klitschko.
Following this the floor was opened up for a short Q and A, with everyone keen to ask their own questions. He chatted for a further 30 minutes covering varying subjects as you can imagine, but always going back to how support from other people, especially his Mum has kept him focused on his journey to be at the moment, the greatest heavyweight on the planet!
Even with the late start it was a fantastic evening one that I thoroughly enjoyed and one I shall remember for many years to come whilst continuing to follow his career in the ring.
The only small downside to the evening was the fact the venue was only seemingly half full, one member of the audience did comment during the Q and A about the lack of advertising he had seen regarding the event, and like many other attending I am sure the theatre would have been filled out if more people had been told of the event.
All in all, a great night, and once again I can only thank the wonderful staff both inside the theatre and the car park who helped me out late in the evening when I had lost my car parking ticket.
A super star at a super venue.
For other shows at The Lowry in Manchester visit www.thelowry.com.
The Lowry, Pier 8, Salford Quays, Manchester, M50 3AZ | 0843 208 6000