AS vocal as Dillian Whyte has been in calling out Anthony Joshua, the Olympic gold medallist promises to keep his focus on tonight’s opponent, Gary Cornish, even though the Highlander is a hefty underdog.
“The fight business is a tough business, I give him credit. That’s all I’ve got to worry about right now. What will be will be,” Joshua said. “[Cornish] throws good jabs, he moves well for a big guy. One thing I’ve learned is, I can’t tell you everything about Cornish because it’s so different when you’re the man in there on the night.
“He’s very fit, moves a lot and he’s got a very good double jab and he throws a hook right hand.
“They know if they beat me, because I’ve built this little hype train, I get derailed and they jump on so I think it gives them that bit more ambition.”
The joiner from Scotland should be well motivated for this. His team vehemently complained about the lack of coverage Gary had received. “None of this stuff is given to you, it’s all earned,” Joshua responded. “You want to be famous, go and contact people. You want interviews, go and contact papers, get a PR team. They’re not always knocking on your door.
“People have got to go searching, hand in CVs, work for work and that’s exactly what I do. It’s not easy. I graft in and out of the gym, 24/7. It’s just building a little momentum. It’s not to say people get favoured, it’s just to say I feel people should be more humble if they want that type of attention, go out and get it.”
There are great expectations on Joshua, and he has been delivering with exciting knockouts in all 13 of his pro fights so far. “It’s coming naturally,” he said. “I can break them down from first to third round, even if my sparring partners are doing four rounds a piece, four rounds each, every sparring partner that gets in by the third and four round starts showing signs of weakness and it’s sparring so you’re not hitting them with 10 ounce gloves, you’re not trying to kill them. But you can start seeing the wear and tear. So when I get in there I try and gauge it the same way as I’ve been practising for the eight weeks, first round, second round, third round and if they stand up then it will go [on], but if they don’t I can gauge that they’ll be getting beaten up by the third round, if I don’t make any silly mistakes.”
In his most recent performance, Joshua shone in rapidly taking apart former world contender Kevin Johnson. “That was calculated,” Anthony maintains, “it wasn’t aggressive. More calculated. I knew he had a very good jab, this flicking jab. So I came out boxing behind the jab and I could see he was lazy where he placed it so that’s when I countered it with the right and then from there I kind of just followed up and that was it. I didn’t really come out, swinging hooks, throwing. I just came out, boxed and when I got him, I kind of built on that success after I landed a few combinations.”
If he can get through these domestic challenges by the end of this year, he will then be able to move on to higher level competition. “2016, that’s the year. It’s time to stop messing around,” he said. “If it’s the right fight, 2016 we’ll definitely go for it.”
He thinks towards the end of next year he could potentially be fighting for a world title. “But I’ll definitely be going for like the Erkan Tepers [the European champion], Arreolas, Bryant Jennings, these type of fighters.”
Tyson Fury has already put Joshua on his shortlist of desired future fights. “I just think he wants to sell out Wembley,” Anthony laughed. “The title comes with being a good fighter. I see improvements, I’m getting smarter as I get older.
“I’m getting to the stage where I’m developing, the different jabs, the solid jabs, the flicking jabs, jab to the body, I’m developing for sure. I feel like I’m getting smarter in the ring. It’s coming together finally.“
He respects the reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko even though the Ukrainian is the man he ultimately wants to dethrone. “Klitschko’s elite. He’s gone through the hard times in his career and he’s learned his trade. I think he’s gone through the whole maturing stage, development as a fighter, as a person, like the Shannon Briggses of this world, he deals with them, just brushes it off with ease. He’s a boss. Klitschko’s a boss. He’s the kingpin of boxing.”
“I don’t want to be like Klitschko, though I do some of the stuff he does. I feel I’ll be a bit more fun,” Joshua continued. “I definitely like his style. You can definitely take little bits from Klitschko.
“If you dethrone someone like Klitschko, then you’re regarded as the real deal.”