Anthony Joshua is stood in the foyer of the five-star Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf. On Saturday he’s up against ‘Prince’ Charles Martin with a shot at becoming IBF heavyweight champion.
He’s just finished the last press conference before the two step in the ring. The 26-year-old has been the subject of a media tug and war for over 90 minutes.
Everyone wants a piece of AJ, as he is affectionately known.
He remains professional and addresses each interview – from national media to regional video bloggers – with the same level of genuine enthusiasm. Saturday marks his sixth fight at The O2 in his professional career and he’s pleased to be back.
But the stakes have never been higher.
“Not only am I fighting here again, we’ve got the champion here as well that’s competing with me. I’m the underdog and I’m looking forward to putting on another spectacular show and giving people some value for money,” he says.
Trash talk has been kept to a minimum in the build-up. Instead the pair have showed mutual respect, something that will dissipate once the bells ring on Saturday night.
“This is a fight – it’s the hurt business but the confidence and the respect between us both is due because he’s a champion and I’m Olympic champion and a hungry competitor.
“That level of respect is dangerous because if he’s comfortable and respecting me face to face when we’re in the ring, he’s going to be comfortable anyway. He’s not nervous, he’s not acting out of character, so that’s quite a dangerous thing.
Tickets for Saturday’s fight sold out in under 90 seconds, the quickest of any sporting event in the history of the venue. The show boasts an impressive undercard of fights including George Groves, Lee Selby, Davis Ohara and Connor Benn.
Joshua insists that together they are going to create extraordinary entertainment.
“The undercard is just as good in itself – there’s certain fights which could have had their own show. It’s just made it a bigger atmosphere and it’s going to be a nice energy come Saturday.”
He believes the fight will be a close affair and the paying public will get more than their money’s worth.
“When we come out it’s just intense, because they know it can end any minute and anyone can get hurt with any punch. That’s what happens when 18 stone physical, fit specimens have been training to hurt someone.
“I’m the underdog and I’m looking forward to putting on another spectacular show and giving people some value for money.”
In the week leading up to the biggest fight of his’ career, Joshua has kept himself active, mentally and physically prepared.
“I’ve chilled out with the family and now I’m gonna be in the hotel, just eating and resting good, doing some physio work and just not being lethargic staying in bed all day.
Joshua’s last fight against Dillion Whyte was a more personal affair that even included him being walked out by man of the moment grime emcee Stormzy.
Music has taken a back seat this time.
“No one’s gonna walk me out – the thing with Stormzy was organic. It was just natural and it worked really well, so I don’t wanna force it but I got some nice little music for people to enjoy this time.”