“With Joshua, because I was quite elusive it was always even. He were going into the Olympics and I were ticking over. I’d only sparred a few times in me life, and I went to throw a relaxed shot, and Joshua were uptight and tense, and he caught me with a check-hook on the temple. He put me down; I got back up and we did another few rounds. Joshua always got to four rounds and he’d be blowing, ’cause he were geared to fight four. After that I never took my eye off the ball and never got dropped again; he never hurt me, he were an accumulative puncher and I were off-balance. There were a few times I’d catch him and I’d numb him.
“Me and Deontay are friends; we sparred in Sheffield, London, even my kitchen. We’re very close so we’d go easy. But I remember him just throwing a right hand and not meaning to put anything into it, the speed – until you get in there you don’t realise – and that’s the same for his power. There’s no comparison to Deontay’s power, even with Wladimir [Klitschko] – who tortured me when I first sparred him – and David Haye. You can’t make one mistake with Deontay because he hits that hard; he’s more agile than any big man I’ve seen.
“He hit me with a right hand just above me temple – we had 20oz gloves on – and it wobbled me and I remember me left leg felt really heavy. For two weeks after that, I had a terrible pain, like somebody had a hot knife in the bottom of me foot and it were shooting up me leg. His chin, I’ve hit him clean on the chin, and watched David Haye catch him clean on the gym; he wiped the floor with David.”