I don’t know about everyone else but I half-expected Anthony Joshua to stop Charles Martin quickly. Not to take anything away from Joshua, I think people thought Martin was better than he was. I was just listening to the way Anthony was talking afterwards, that impressed me more than anything. He’s so mature even though he’s still really young.
He’s progressing every time. He’s getting better and better. Even as an amateur that’s what you do, hopefully. You train to get better and better every time and that’s exactly what he’s done from the minute he put on a pair of gloves and he’s still doing it now. He’s always learning. He doesn’t believe in his own hype.
That’s just his personality, that’s just the way he is. He wants to be the best. He’s going to train, he’s going to learn, he’s always going to pick up ways to improve himself and get better. To be honest, if you were a coach coaching him he’s a godsend because that’s the kind of person you want. There’s no more perfect an athlete than someone who listens to what you say, does what you say, carries out the instructions and is, I wouldn’t say critical of themselves, but can still pick out from a brilliant performance where he didn’t do so well. He’s always working on his weaknesses because he knows his strengths. He is always learning, he’d be the first to tell you that.
Callum Smith also doesn’t cease to amaze me. I don’t think he’s quite ready for the top names, but again, like Joshua, he’s not far off. There might be one or two fights in between. He’s proven that he can go in with some of the world’s best and win and in the first round. He’s just flying.
Some people get by on their talent alone and when you get to the top of the crop, world championships, you’ll get found out because sometimes talent isn’t enough. When people are putting the effort and the work in the training sessions before they even get there, then that’ll boost you that extra step.
It just shows you how far the amateurs have come. You’ve got Vasyl Lomachenko, you’ve got Callum Smith who didn’t make the last Olympics, you’ve got Anthony Joshua, you’ve got James DeGale. There’s obviously a history of Olympians going on and doing well but it shows you the standard of amateur boxing that Lomachenko can go in his third, fourth fight and was a world champion.
I can only speak for our team but we trained more than some professionals. We’re professional athletes. To some it’s like the pros is a step up; you’ve been an amateur and now you’re going to be a pro and, even though that’s the case, our amateurs are going in higher than some pros now. That just shows the calibre of the people we’re talking about.