Anthony Joshua has pledged to unleash his inner Mike Tyson when he faces Kubrat Pulev in London next Saturday night. It will be the first defence of his heavyweight titles since regaining them from Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last December.
And ahead of his return to the capital, he said he had been inspired by Tyson on his own recent return to the ring against Roy Jones Jr.
Of the 54-year-old Tyson, he said: “He feinted well but what I really liked was his attitude, the way he conditioned his mind to overcome any obstacle, any worries. He still has that and it’s important.
“The biggest-looking men aren’t always the toughest men mentally and Mike, alongside his physical capabilities, what set him apart from a lot of champions was his mindset. So, I took a lot from that, that warrior’s mindset that I’m trying to work on.”
Joshua is hotly tipped to outclass the 39-year-old Pulev at Wembley’s SSE Arena but, with the prospect of two career-defining fights against Tyson Fury in 2021, he insisted he planned to put any potential celebrations on ice.
“I’m not interested in partying anymore,” said the Londoner. “Do you know what? I’m more dedicated than ever now. I’m older, wise, I haven’t been boxing so long, over these last 12 years of my career I’d had to do a lot of maturing, a lot of lecturing about what it means to be a fighter, what it means to be heavyweight champion. Actually, the responsibilities of being a champion.
“Before I was happy go lucky, going through this boxing industry with a smile on my face. But now I really understand, like Bernard Hopkins, the discipline that he implemented and what took him so far.
“So not so much partying, just me and my team and just trying to achieve good things in boxing right now.”
Book and watch Anthony Joshua against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office