IF Britain’s heavyweight hope Anthony Joshua prevails, unharmed, against Raphael Zumbano Love tonight (May 9) in Birmingham he’s on course for his postponed clash with Kevin Johnson. The durable American is a good match for Joshua at this early stage of his career. Johnson has been in with high level fighters, he may not have beaten them but he hasn’t been stopped either.
After time out with a back injury, Joshua returned to take out Jason Gavern in three rounds in Newcastle. “Gavern was like to get the ring rust off to prepare for Johnson so at the back of my mind I’ve always had that Johnson fight in my mind, even before Gavern was mentioned, Johnson was prepared for anyway,” Anthony told Boxing News. “Johnson’s always been in the back of my mind and I’m feeling a bit more confident in myself. 11 fights in, the more you do something, the more confident you become in your ability and that’s just where I’m at with it. I feel good. I feel ready for the fight.
“To fight him in Newcastle in front of six thousand fans would have been cool but now to fight him on a London show [on May 30 at the O2], where you’ve got [Kell] Brook, [Lee] Selby, Scotty Cardle, 17,000 people, it’s more intense for him. He’s going to want to make things as tricky as possible because he doesn’t want to embarrass himself and neither do I. For sure he’s going to come out and make things hard for me.”
Originally scheduled for January, Joshua has already come face-to-face with the loud-mouthed American. “Outside the ring you’ve got another [side]. I take my hat off to him, I give him the mental side. Not saying that he’s broken me down, but he’s very good at that. I’ll get to show what I’m good at. That’s when the bell goes. So let him have his fun outside of the ring and I’ll tell you the serious part is inside the ring and I’ll handle my business. So how I react to that is block it out, don’t let it get to me. I’m not here to win a championship in talking. I’m here to win a championship in the ring. So that’s what’s important, the fight and not really the talking. It’s all irrelevant,” Joshua said.
“That’s one thing I don’t like about the pros, you get some idiots. That’s the only thing I don’t like about the pros. Besides that I’m enjoying it… It’s the entertainment business and he’s done well. It hypes the fight but I think once the bell goes and you start trading, the talking’s kind of irrelevant. I’m going to meet so many different types of characters throughout my career. Gavern’s very polite, then he might come swinging. Kevin Johnson speaks a lot and will probably go into a defensive shell. That’s his style, quite defensive. Just understanding that how they are outside the ring is completely different to what they are inside.”
There are intriguing domestic fights for Joshua too and they are expected to come later on in 2015. “Loads of interesting fights, it’s a good position to be in,” he said. “The levels have to build, not a major step – I’m not going to go for Klitschko by the end of the year. As they say, people who can hit back, people who can stay there, test my endurance, test my skills, test my will. First 10 fights like for any professional is always a building up stage, now I’ve gone past that we go to the next stage then.”