Anthony Joshua has admitted to feeling intense pressure while preparing to challenge IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in London tonight.
The fight, at the O2 Arena, is only Joshua’s 16th as a professional but comes after a decorated amateur career in which he won an Olympic gold medal and a promising period in which each of his previous 15 fights generated significant interest.
For all that he has long been groomed for this platform, however, it comes as some surprise that his first world-title challenge has arrived so soon.
Martin is similarly inexperienced, which may explain why Joshua is already fighting at world level. Yet even as the favourite for Saturday’s fight and possessing a record of 15 stoppage wins, 26-year-old Joshua has revealed his struggle to sleep.
“Some nights I haven’t been sleeping,” said Joshua.
“I don’t know why. It’s not so much thinking about just the fight. I get a lot of pressure in the gym to get better so some nights I haven’t been sleeping. But not this week, I’ve been okay this week but in camp (I’ve struggled).
“It has been a tough camp with a lot of pressure. My coach (Tony Sims) works me very hard. What I like about (pre-fight build-up is) that it gives you an opportunity to build your nerves so that when Saturday comes, you’ve already learned how to deal with your nerves.”
Meanwhile a rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA and WBO heavyweight titles will take place in Manchester on July 9, according to the British fighter’s trainer and uncle Peter Fury.
A rematch between the two has in negotiation since Fury outpointed Klitschko in Dusseldorf in November to win the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles and become the first to defeat him in 11 years.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved