HEAVYWEIGHT prospect Anthony Joshua ticked all the right boxes in 2014, compiling an impressive 10-0 (10) record. On January 31 at the O2 in London the Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist takes on Kevin Johnson, a former Vitali Klitschko opponent who’s lost to Dereck Chisora and Tyson Fury more recently.
“You wouldn’t expect him to fight Johnson after 10 fights really, more like 15, 16, 17. He’s been progressed perfectly, if I may say so myself. I just think it’s a great fight at the right time,” said his promoter Eddie Hearn.
“We didn’t expect him to be headlining after 10 fights. I still believe that right now he’s the hottest fighter in the division domestically. I put Tyson Fury in that mix as well. I think [Joshua] is an athlete, I think he’s going to be an ambassador and I think he’s going to change the game. That’s the difference. I think he’s going to be someone that actually makes a massive difference to the growth of the sport from top to bottom.
“Look at him. He looks a million dollars. If I had a son I’d want him to look at someone like Anthony Joshua and go, ‘I want to be like Joshua.’ Because I know he works hard, I know he lives clean, I know he’s a good role model, I know he’s a great athlete.”
Matchroom want to keep his rapid progress going. “I’d like to position him for the British title, obviously Fury’s got that at the moment. He’ll hold on to it and mess everyone around, eventually he would like to fight for that if the opportunity comes. Just keep progressing him and growing him as a brand, box him in Newcastle, try and box him in Leeds,” Hearn said. “It depends on the performances. I’d like to see him just keep rolling… He beats Fury now, in my opinion. It doesn’t mean I’d put him in with him now. But ultimately Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua is massive. But it’s even bigger in sixth months’ time and it’s actually even bigger in 12 months’ time [at the end of 2015]. So it’s just a case of when that fight can be made. You’ve got to expect Fury to try and get a world title shot but also he loves a pound note and he knows that a fight with him and Joshua is huge. If I was Fury, I’d be looking at Joshua and thinking, ‘I should fight him sooner rather than later.’
“You want to get paid as much as possible as quickly as possible.
“I’m not knocking Fury, he’s a good fighter. Imagine [Fury-Joshua] but don’t just imagine it now, imagine it in six or eight months, when Joshua’s had another four or five fights, all of a sudden, it’s massive. It’ll be great with a title on the line.”
Photo: Russell Pritchard/Matchroom