ANTHONY JOSHUA (AJ): The Olympics is the big stage to perform on because you’ve got the world watching. The good thing about it is that even though people are watching all around the world, you’re still in your bubble, doing what you do. You’re probably going to have to go out and box four times to become champ, even though it’s a big stage that’s the best way to try and chop it down.
Jack Bateson (JB): I’ve got three qualifiers at the start of 2016, which I hope I’m selected for, and hopefully that will be my selection route through to Rio.
AJ: I went for experience at the Worlds, go for experience. The ultimate goal is just to qualify no matter if it’s at the first, second or third stage. I think Audley (Harrison) took up the last one. So everyone goes through different routes to get there. So your route could be different, as long as you make it to the Olympics that’s the main thing. Try to treat it as another tournament. Every tournament you go to the aim is to get a gold medal.
JB: Did you feel a lot of pressure going to these tournaments, because there’s a lot on my back in hoping to qualify?
AJ: I kept it calm, I always try to simplify it. I said how many fights will I have to win to become Olympic champion? He (my coach) said four. In the worlds I had to fight six times. I thought this is easy!
It was hard, it was different. The Olympics is different, I’m used to fighting in halls where there’s like 100 people. It was weird it was like a gladiator thing for me I was at the back getting warmed up. I tried to block out the crowd in my first fight which was a mistake. Embrace it, enjoy it, skip to the ring, shake it off and get in there and do your thing. Don’t be overwhelmed. That was an early error I made, I put too much pressure on myself.
JB: I have a tournament coming up where I could be fighting the same three boxers at the Olympics.
AJ: What’s the difference?
JB: At the moment it’s just qualifying. If I can put my name up there in the rankings give myself a bit of a name, get to these qualifying tournaments and qualify, it’s all about winning.
AJ: Getting there is the hardest part. To become an Olympian out of all these people across the world who tried to get there and you’re there, that’s the hard work done. Now it’s time to go and just let your hands go and just have fun.
It’s not just about the year of the Olympics you’ve got to look back at the start of your career in the local gym, running the roads, building yourself up to become international level.
JB: That’s what’s so great about him (AJ) he takes the knowledge from anyone that’s watching or sees him fight and look what he’s done. That’s what I’ve tried to do.
AJ: If you want to be respected as an Olympian, you can’t take your ABA Championship to an Olympic medallist and think they’re going to respect you.
Handle these boys here (fellow GB athletes) and then take on then take on the world and that’s when I really stepped up my game. I think that was the best advice I had moving forward because I though t I was the man winning the ABAs, I was ready to turn pro and everything.
I back Jack I call him Mr Dedication, he’s on it, he’s focused