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Anthony Joshua column: ‘I will fight anybody, I would even take on King Kong’

·4-min read
Anthony Joshua column: ‘I will fight anybody, I would even take on King Kong’

I’m glad I’d already made it to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before fight week before because the place blew me away.

We were doing some pictures to publicise the fight back in the summer and I remember taking time to kneel on the middle of the pitch and say a quick prayer.

Yesterday, it looked a little different. The ring’s taking shape, the seating – it’s looking very different to on a match day I’d imagine – and the crowd’s going to have the intensity of my previous big nights at Wembley.

The way the stadium’s been built and the crowd are on top of you, the atmosphere could be even more electric.

Stepping inside, seeing the fight posters, you get a little buzz, not of apprehension because, after all, this is my job but of excitement because I love to fight, I believe I was born to fight.

When I come back tomorrow, it’s going to be so different again and to fight in front of a crowd like that’s going to be intense. I’ll fight anywhere and in front of anyone.

We had 15,000 in Saudi Arabia, then 1,000 at the SSE Arena. Now, it’s 60,000-plus and that’s going to be some noise but, stripping it down, it’s the same challenge and the objective never changes.

But you do get a sense of what this means to people – to Londoners, Ukrainians, Usyk fans, Joshua fans, who’ve all got their tickets. This isn’t just about me and him but about boxing and selling this amazing sport of ours to the rest of the world. And what better way of doing that than with what Eddie Hearn calls the fight of the year. I agree.

We’re two guys at our peak and, in some ways, our careers have been interlinked with those gold medals at London 2012. The only difference is he had something like 10 years of amateur fights before those Games.

 (Matchroom Boxing)
(Matchroom Boxing)

I make the point to highlight just how experienced he is. The guy knows how to box, he’s technically very good, he’s quick and I’m looking forward to the test he’ll provide.

Hopefully at yesterday’s press conference, everyone saw the respect we both have for each other. There was none of the boxing histrionics you sometimes see. Who needs that? This fight sells itself and he deserves the credit up for stepping up, and maybe I do too for taking on his challenge.

That moment after the press conference when you stare into each other’s eyes. It begins to get a bit more real, of what lies ahead for both of us.

It’s funny, people ask if I’m looking ahead to Tyson Fury and honestly, no, I’m not. I don’t mind talking about it but Usyk’s my focus and then getting back to training. I might even be back in the gym on Monday or Tuesday because I’m all about getting better.

I’ve been thinking a lot this past week about when I turned pro and I’ve got to be honest, I was pretty rubbish. But every fight I’ve improved and I hope everyone watching will still see more improvements from the Kubrat Pulev fight.

I like to bring something new to every fight and not just in terms of my boxing capabilities. This time the music for my ring walk is called Ambition by my cousin Maulo. That’s going to get me ready, the lyrics saying “you can’t hold me down, heart of a lion”. That should get Tottenham Hotspur Stadium rocking.

This has been months of hard work, I’ve had to spend time away from my family but that’s the sort of commitment required to keep the focus, to rest when you need to and give yourself every chance to improve.

Tomorrow night’s the big one. I hope this shows I’ll fight anybody, I’d take on King Kong if that’s who Eddie proposes next! Now it’s time to go to work.

Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk is on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday night.

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