ANTHONY JOSHUA has opened up on the mad day which started in a prison cell and ended with a knockout blow from David Price.
Joshua openly admits that the big Liverpudlian put him down during a sparring session in 2011 when he was still an amateur.
2008 Olympic bronze medalist Price, who was a professional at the time, revealed last year that he left the Londoner flat on his back and requiring assistance from his trainers.
Now, nearly eight years on, Joshua’s latest opponent, Joseph Parker, has used the conclusion of that particular spar as evidence that the WBA and IBF heavyweight champion has a ‘glass jaw’.
Joshua and Parker meet at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on March 31 with the 2012 Olympic champion a firm favourite to clinch the New Zealander’s WBO belt in the Welsh capital.
Parker, who claims to have never been floored either in sparring or competition, along with his team believe Joshua is there for the taking based on his history of being hurt in fights and sparring.
But Joshua has now revealed the scarcely believable circumstances which led to him stepping into the ring with Price, which included a prison cell, a train and a frantic call to GB coach Paul Walmsley.
He said: “I had come out of a police cell the day I went up to training. I won’t use it as an excuse.
“I was coming up to training camp, Thursday to Sunday, because I was on a development course.
“But I got nicked on the way to training camp – for just trouble – and I got out on the Saturday.
“The first person I called was Paul Walmsley because I didn’t want them to think I was skipping training. There were not lawyers back then.
“I started sparring as soon as I got up there, straight from the station, I do think he was very good at the time, very strong and I was making too many mistakes. Those circumstances don’t help when you’re sparring an elite fighter.
“I even had to get the train to Sheffield because they took my car – just to show my commitment. What I learnt was you cannot stop someone like me.
“They say you have two types of fighters; those that get dropped and stay down. But the ones you have to be wary of are the ones who keep on coming. You just cannot stop someone like that. I learnt it will take more than just power or durability to stop me.”
Team Parker have also taken confidence from his stoppage at the hands of Mihai Nistor in the 2011 European Championships. Again, Joshua has advised them against doing so.
He said: “[My trainer] Rob McCracken knows I was banned from the GB team at the time, I went back to Watford and stopped boxing.
“But two weeks before the championships I was called up to represent my country. I was very unfit. I didn’t get dropped, I got stopped.”
But after Parker’s fairly routine verbal barbs regarding Joshua’s chin, the WBO champion delivered a shot below the belt while conducting an interview on a New Zealand radio station.
It was then that Parker labelled Joshua the ‘King of Steroids’, suggesting that his hulking physique may not be entirely natural.
The undefeated 26-year-old swiftly backtracked when the pair were in the same building at Tuesday’s press conference in London, but Joshua still felt compelled to defend himself against the original accusation.
“I sign up three months in advance every time and I have to give them two slots in the day where I definitely will be – so they are able to drug test me,” Joshua explained said at the Dorchester on Park Lane.
“I am not trying to prove anything. I pay my money.
“Accusations like this used to happen to Klitschko a lot – when I used to watch him – they used to disrespect him a lot of the time about his style and performance, they used to say other things about him.
“I think he was just a phenomenal fighter and I think people just say things and they are forgotten about, I won’t take it to heart. You just roll with the punches, people talk.
“But when I am sitting at home with my family it is all irrelevant. It is only relevant when I am in front of the person – and they didn’t say it to my face – so I don’t take it to heart.
“If I’m not clean you’ll find out in this fight. If I haven’t been clean for my fights you’ll see me struggle against Parker because anything I’ve taken would be out of my system.
“You’ll find out throughout this fight whether I’m actually super-human or if I have something pushing on this superhuman power he thinks I have.
“You have to be careful, people’s lives are on the line – it’s not a game of golf. It’s a shame that people get caught up with that sort of thing.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn, meanwhile, explained exactly what measures Joshua has taken to prove he is a clean boxer.
He said: “We pay something like £30k every fight, to make sure the fighters are tested. As soon as the contract is signed, that testing is under way, We optionally sign up for that.
“We are also with UKAD, through the British Boxing Board of Control and that’s 365 days a year, random, whereabouts testing.
“The last three or four fights we have been test eight times in camp by UKAD and WADA over a 12-week period.
“We are also on 365 days a year testing for the WBA. People ask ‘why is he not on the WBC [testing programme] but he is not a WBC fighter. The WBA now have 365 days testing and he pays for additional for random testing and the UKAD.
“He is the one pushing for a clean sport.”