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Anthony Joshua Targets 2016 Olympics To Defend Title

Anthony Joshua brought a tumultuous end to the Olympic boxing tournament with a thrilling countback victory over Roberto Cammarelle, and insisted he would relish the opportunity to return to defend his title in Rio in 2016.

Lucrative professional offers are certain to follow for the unassuming Londoner, who clawed back a three-point deficit with a heroic final-round assault to claim Great Britain's third boxing gold medal of the Games by the slightest of margins.

But, with the gold medal hanging proudly around his neck, Joshua stated that he had no intention of following a path trodden by generations of Olympic champions by using his triumph as a route into the paid ranks.

"It's honestly not going to be hard to resist. To leave something as great as the Great Britain set-up just because of money would be a big mistake," said Joshua. "I don't want to lose that because of a bit of money thrown in my face.

"I didn't grow up with loads of money around me anyway, and I'm happy with the way things are. These memories are priceless. I want to go on and win world and European titles and dominate in the amateurs. That's where my head is at the minute."

The Finchley 22-year-old – who was such a late starter in boxing he had not even bothered to watch the action from Beijing on television four years ago – has made extraordinary progress since claiming a world silver medal in Baku last year. It was Joshua's quarter-final win over previous Olympic champion Cammarelle – in only his second major senior tournament – that catapulted him up the world rankings and turned the Englishman into one of the sport's prodigies.

Gradually, Joshua emerged from a tough Olympic draw, enjoying a bit of luck in a close first-round encounter with Cuba's Erislandy Savon, to set up the most dramatic Olympic finale imaginable as Cammarelle once again stood in the opposite corner.

Down by a point at the end of the first round after walking into a succession of right hands from the Italian, Joshua was struggling to get punches in and his dream of Olympic gold looked over when Cammarelle extended his lead to three heading into the final round.

However, a rousing performance – which invoked a reference to his favourite film 300, a movie about Spartan warriors – allowed Joshua to make the verdict an 18-18 tie before the announcement of the countback. That was supplied extra drama by an unsuccessful Italian appeal.

"The moral of the film is to never give up, to never surrender, and it was just like that in the third round," said the Englishman. "My legs were screaming but I kept throwing punches in there and kept pushing to the final bell."

Joshua's win helped Great Britain top the boxing medal table with three golds, one silver and one bronze, after Welshman Fred Evans was well beaten in his welterweight final by the superb Kazakh Serik Sapiyev. Evans simply did not get a look-in against the former double world champion, whose stiff jab kept the European champion at bay throughout and helped him ease to a 17-9 victory. He picked up the prestigious Val Barker Trophy for best boxer in the tournament.

"I don't have any complaints about the result," said Evans. "I could have done things better and I didn't stick to my game-plan, but I'm only 21 – I'm one of the youngest seniors here – and there is time for me yet.

"I have no plans to turn professional at the moment. I am going to go back and talk to the team, but I've still got a lot of things to learn and a lot of tournaments to fight. I have funding, so the money is not so much of an issue for me."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Alpha & Omega on 08-13-2012

Victory my ass...he lost, Cammarelle should be wearing gold. He lost to Savon and then to Cammarelle. It is really ****ty to do that to olympic boxers, to take away their dreams and medals over home cooking bull****. Makes me…

Comment by Hougigo on 08-13-2012

Dumb if he does. He'll be missing out on time and money as a pro and no way he wins the Gold Medal again

Comment by D-MiZe on 08-13-2012

[QUOTE=Sparked_26;12424028]Amateur British funding is no joke. British fighters really should dominate the next Olympic tournament, imo.[/QUOTE] Calm down. Funding doesn't equal talent. We won't dominate, I expect a similar showing though. At least 1 gold and 4 other medals, that's…

Comment by Sparked_26 on 08-13-2012

[QUOTE=Earl Hickey;12423589]He could go for Gold at the commonwealths. some might say it's more prestigious, without the P.E.D ridden filth from those [I]other[/I] countries[/QUOTE] I refute that. I saw Kenny Anderson knock out a fellow from Papua New Guinea in…

Comment by Sparked_26 on 08-13-2012

Amateur British funding is no joke. British fighters really should dominate the next Olympic tournament, imo.

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