OLYMPIC gold medallist, Anthony Joshua, who has stormed through his early professional fights, was scheduled to meet Kevin Johnson last Saturday at the O2. A back injury however reduced him to watching from the sidelines.
“It was a blow. We would have done about 11,000 tickets and we’ve done 7,000, which is still brilliant,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Not the injury, the only thing that was a blow was the momentum. He had great momentum. What the box office sales really showed us was he’s a big star now. So that was the disappointing thing. The injury is not one the doctors are looking at and going, ‘this could affect his career.’ He’s [doing] physio, strength work core, he’s doing altitude training. He really goes for it. He does train hard. He’s a big guy and it’s heavy duty stuff, when you’re sparring with heavyweights, doing strength work.”
This particular injury is not deemed to be a serious problem. “It just happens, you get injuries. Hopefully and almost certainly this one’s not a major setback,” the promoter said.
“He’s got a scan [this] week and they hope that the scan comes and he’s fine to start punching again. The worst way he might have to wait another couple of weeks. But he’s not out until April 4 and then he’ll be [on] April 25 at the O2 against Kevin Johnson.” In Newcastle on April 4 Joshua will go in to a scheduled 10-rounder, possibly against Yaroslav Zavorotnyi, who boxed David Price last year.
“I think maybe it’s a good thing because it’s just slowed him down a little bit. Everyone was getting carried away. He’ll regroup, everyone in April will go, ‘Wow’ again, then back at the O2 in a massive show. Then after the O2 on April 25, we’re really cooking on gas for the big fights,” Hearn continued.
“The big fights I’m talking about, Dereck Chisora, maybe Price [in] summer fights. I still think him against [Tyson] Fury is massive. If Fury gets blocked for [Wladimir] Klitshcko and blocked for [Deontay] Wilder, maybe that’s a fight we’ll all look at for the end of the year. But of course he’s got to chase Klitschko and Wilder. But I think Chisora and Price realistically [for Joshua] in the summer.”