Anthony Joshua has looked incredibly sharp in training according to the Brit’s camp manager – sending a stern warning to Oleksandr Usyk. The Brit is gearing up for his heavyweight championship rematch with the Ukrainian in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
It is a crucial match-up for AJ, arguably the biggest of his career as he aims to avoid consecutive defeats for the first time in his career. But David Ghansa, AJ’s camp manager, has allayed fans of any fears they may have by revealing how dominant he has looked during sparring.
“We’ve had as many as 13 sparring partners in,” Ghansa told Sky Sports. “People have been hitting the canvas. They came in and knew it could happen and got paid for that and I’m not going to hide it. People have been hitting the canvas in sparring. It’s been happening.”
Joshua himself told Sky Sports about it: “I don’t talk about that stuff. All that stuff is only good for that day, it’s Saturday that happens. I’m lost for words because all that matters is Saturday.” Following a comprehensive victory by Usyk in front of a stunned crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, some ex-boxers still believe AJ will end up on the losing side once again, which may force him into retirement.
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Kell Brook, who retired earlier this year, believes that Joshua will walk away from boxing if he loses, as does former world cruiserweight champion and boxing analyst Johnny Nelson.
“He is not a backing dancer, it’s not in his DNA to want to be a heavyweight fighter and hanging around the heavyweight division knowing there’s a guy in that division who can beat him,” said Nelson in his column for Sky Sports. “It’s a fighter’s mentality. You always think about becoming world champion and he wants to be the best guy.
“If Usyk beats him I reckon he will walk away. It’s so important for his career because he knows this might be the last big fight he’s in.” Speaking to the media ahead of the fight, Joshua stated how important this fight is to not only try and become champion again, but for his entire career.
“Everything. It’s a big fight, a big night. I’m looking forward to the challenge, but the heavyweight championship of the world is on the line, it’s big, it’s history, ”he said. “It’s a must-win, because I don’t want to walk away.”
Joshua and Usyk will also fight for the record Ring Magazine title after Tyson Fury vacated it – further stating his intention to reitre from professional boxing.