Anthony Joshua: ‘My motto is to stay hungry’
British Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua will complete his first full year as a professional when he meets Russian heavyweight Denis Bakhtov on Saturday at the O2 Arena Millenium Dome in Greenwich, London.
Joshua (8-0, 8 knockouts) debuted as a professional on Oct. 5, 2013 with a first-round stoppage of Emanuele Leo, who entered their fight with a mark of 8-0 with three knockouts. Joshua-Leo was hosted at the O2 Arena Millenium.
“Not much has changed. I’ve got a lot more fans now; that’s for sure, as I have boxed around the country. But I have been in the gym, so I haven’t been able to see the impact. It’s a basic lifestyle really. Because I am boxing so much, the turnaround is short. Bernard Hopkins said what has kept him in the game for so long is avoiding the celebrity lifestyle. That’s what I need to do,” said Joshua, 24.
“I haven’t had time to have a holiday. I would like to do that – eat some nice food in some tiny restaurants – but I haven’t been able to. I am aware of the expectations around me and the potential that the great guys achieved. I’m at the start of my career like they all were and I know that hard work is the key. If I keep my head down and work hard, I can reach the top…I understand the pressure that comes with it but when you are winning, there’s no stopping you. My motto is to stay hungry and it’s that simple.”
Joshua was last in action for last month’s third-round knockout of Konstantin Airich, who was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Bakhtov (38-9, 25 KOs), 34, in July.
“Bakhtov is a lot busier than my last opponent. I look at him the same as I looked at Matt Legg, one of my previous opponents, just with a lot more experience. Legg came out with a lot of hooks and gave it a go,” said Joshua, referring to an 83-second knockout of Legg in May. “Bakhtov can take punches for fun, and he’ll be looking to get to me. Hopefully, he’ll be the one eating a lot of shots. I have to get the win, really. Simple as that.”
Joshua-Bakhtov is the co-feature to a featherweight clash between Lee Selby and Joel Brunker, an IBF eliminator for the right to face beltholder Evgeny Gradovich should Gradovich get beyond a Nov. 29 defense against Jayson Velez.
Note: Quotes taken from a release from Matchroom Sport