Joshua is fast learner but tougher tests loom

Thu May 14, 2015 7:25am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - As flashbulbs illuminate his cast-iron torso in a gym wedged under a railway arch near London Bridge, Anthony Joshua paws at a punchbag with considerably less force than he used to demolish his first dozen opponents.

The 25-year-old then levers himself into the ring and is introduced as "the future heavyweight champion of the world" by a suited executive from the latest company to sign up the Londoner heralded as British boxing's next big thing.

With 12 knockouts in 12 fights, all inside three rounds, since leaving the amateur ranks and moving into the shark-infested waters of professional boxing in 2013, Joshua is hearing those kind of endorsements quite often.

Reigning three-belt world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, another former super-heavyweight Olympic gold medalist, recently sparred with Joshua and described him as the "future" of the division.

With the heavyweight section crying out for a box-office fighter after years of unspectacular dominance by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, no wonder eyes are turning to Joshua.

Two meters tall, packing 106 kilos of pure muscle and a smooth mover, he looks the part. He says, however, that he is a learner in the toughest of all trades.

"I'm not going to start piping up and shouting myself from the rooftops," he told Reuters in an interview. "Whatever Klitschko says about me it's all just potential until I make it a reality.

"I've got a world champion backing me so that's great. I must be doing something right but my job now is to do something extra to make that a reality," he added at an event arranged by ORS Hydration Tablets.   Continued...

Britain's Anthony Joshua celebrates after he was declared the winner over Italy's Roberto Cammarelle following their Men's Super Heavy (+91kg) gold medal boxing match at the London Olympics August 12, 2012.    REUTERS/Murad Sezer