KEVIN JOHNSON, Anthony Joshua’s antagonist tonight (May 30) at the O2 Arena in London, has provided light relief over the course of the week building up to the big show. An off the wall presence at the press conference, deciding to check Joshua’s heartrate at yesterday’s weigh-in. The Londoner has remained calm in the face of him, though Anthony would surely relish becoming the first man to stop the abrasive “Kingpin”.
“He’s from America, very confident, that’s what I was expecting and that’s just what he’s like,” Joshua told Boxing News.
He promises to bring a professional approach to the fight though. “I’ll take pleasure in defeating a world champion. I can’t really look at Johnson and take pleasure in defeating someone like that because he’s not the best in the world, is he? I can’t really get too frustrated or too carried away with someone like Johnson. I’ve just got to keep my head on my shoulders and just get him out the way. Treat him like any other opponent,” he said.
Joshua is part of a generation of quality prospects, auditioning to become the next stars in British boxing. “We’re all part of the wave,” Anthony said, though he tips a fellow London 2012 gold medallist as the man to watch. “Luke Campbell stands out for me,” he adds. “So much experience and defeated great, great amateurs, at international level he proved himself.”
Johnson may be the sternest test of his professional career but victory should see Joshua embark on exciting run of domestic clashes. Dillian Whyte could fight Joshua in September and David Price could take him on in the relatively near future. “I love the Price versus Joshua fight,” said Anthony’s promoter Eddie Hearn. “We’re not talking about waiting two years, we’re talking about six months and then Joshua’s going to be in all the big fights. And how good is it going to be when Joshua’s in big fights? That’s when boxing’s going to go to another level because he can transcend the sport, no doubt about that.
“One more in July and then we’re off the leash, whether it’s Price, whether it’s Dillian Whyte, whether it’s [Dereck] Chisora, one of those will be in the ring in September then that’s it. There’s no turning back.
“We don’t know how good Anthony Joshua is or will be. I think he is the best prospect we’ve ever had. I think he could be phenomenal. Until he’s in these fights we don’t know, do we? What if he fights David Price and gets beat? I can’t see it. David Price can punch. Dillian Whyte, I see that as an easy fight for Joshua. He’s going to be game. I just think it’s like different levels. Price is a tougher fight.
“I love the Dillian Whyte fight because as a promoter it’s got everything you need, you can sit down and have a press conference and you can talk about their old [amateur] fight.
“We’re only a couple of months away from really finding out what we’ve got.”