WHEN Lennox Lewis turned professional, you couldn’t send him a message telling him exactly what you thought of his opponents, his progress and whatever else was on your mind. Now you can fire a tweet straight at Anthony Joshua, if you’re so inclined. The class of 2012 are the first Olympians to turn pro under the often unforgiving eye of Twitter, Facebook and the rest. Social media is a tremendous opportunity for these boxers to build their profile, but it also means their every public move can be subjected to instant feedback.
After his super-heavyweight triumph at London 2012 Anthony Joshua’s path through the pro ranks has been under intense scrutiny. “You can get a thousand great compliments and then you get one negative and itseems that all you want to do is prove your critics wrong. I think that if you’re a good person and you can deal with it, it’s a great thing having social media, if you’re on social media yourself. Look at Mayweather, ‘No one can beat me.’ Mentally he’s so in tune with the negative and people thinking that they’re better than him, it spurs him on. So it’s a good thing. Also for me, it just shows that people have high expectations. But it’s tough because you’ve got the likes of Luke Campbell, who’s been in the game since he was a kid, a European gold medallist, a World silver medallist, Olympic gold medallist, no one puts pressure on him to fight anyone. For me, it seems like I’m bombarded with all this pressure for some reason. That’s just the feeling I get through social media. I think that’s just because people believe in me,” Joshua told Boxing News.
That’s the thing with being the big man on the team though. Everybody sees you.
“It’s constructive criticism, some of it, it’s not always all going to be negative. If I can take the constructive stuff I can get better. Throughout everything I’m going to take the positive,” Anthony added.
It’s also fair to say that Mayweather’s mastery of media like Twitter has helped him become such a huge star. “He’s adapted to the social era and he’s using it to his advantage for sure,” the Olympic gold medallist continued.
So far this year Joshua has made short work of Jason Gavern and Raphael Zumbano Love but on May 30 at the O2 he faces Kevin Johnson, the American who has been in with Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora but never been stopped. Bigger fights are looming on the near horizon too, with domestic rival Dillian Whyte waiting in the wings possibly for a September showdown. “I think maybe, potentially get a fight with Mr. Whyte. It’s down to my coach. I put the names across and we go from there. Eddie [Hearn, his promoter] he’s looking at logistics and venue dates,” Joshua said.
Anthony Joshua was speaking at an event to announce his new partnership with ORS Hydration Tablets
Photo: Lawrence Lustig