Eddie Hearn: Anthony Joshua, A Huge Target on His Back
Olympic super-heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has set his sights on world domination following his switch to the professional ranks.
Joshua claimed gold at London 2012 after beating Italy's Roberto Cammarelle in the final at the ExCeL and has since taken his time working out his next move.
Now, almost a year to the day since the London Games began, Joshua has signed a three-year contract with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom organisation - who also recently signed Joshua's fellow gold medallist Luke Campbell.
The 23-year-old will kick off his professional career at the O2 Arena on October 5 against an opponent yet to be announced, and has paid tribute to those who had helped him succeed in the amateur ranks.
"A big thank you to GB Boxing, through the thick and thin and on the tough road and learning my trade," said Joshua.
"They took me from a complete novice to ABA champion to number one in the world, the Olympic gold medallist.
"It was a privilege working with the coaches and it has given me the foundations to move into the professional ranks and take that formula as an amateur, to hopefully become and a great ambassador for professional boxing and become number one in the world at some time in the future.
"But this is just the beginning, it is going to be a very, very tough road but I'm so determined and I know what I have to do to make my dreams come true and I'm willing to sacrifice anything I have to sacrifice in order to create this destiny."
Joshua admits the decision to turn professional was a hard one, with the chance to defend his Olympic crown in Rio something he also considered.
"I realised the improvements I was making so after the Games I thought I could go on to Rio and capture a second gold medal so I looked at that option and I looked at the professional option.
"I'm glad that I fulfilled my dreams at the Games, I met with Eddie and talked to a lot of people. Listened and listened and I'm here now after about 10 months and I feel in my heart and in my mind that this is what I want to do.
"This is what I want to be involved in and I know, moving forward, that it will never be a decision that I regret and that is the main thing."
Hearn, who also boasts big names such as Carl Froch and Kell Brook as part of his stable, reckons Joshua can become the face of heavyweight boxing in the future.
"I'm delighted to announce that we finally got our man, for me this is a very pleasing day," said Hearn. "We have all seen what Anthony Joshua has achieved in just 43 amateur fights - culminating in Olympic gold.
"Finally, I believe we have a heavyweight in this country we can get very, very excited about.
"He has got it all, speed, power and he looks the part.
"I think we have got the perfect ambassador, not just for British boxing but for British sport.
"British boxing is on a high at the moment and Anthony is the right role model to take it even further. I'm delighted to introduce him the world of professional boxing."
Hearn revealed the protracted talks required to get Joshua signed up and on board but is already impressed by what he has seen.
"When anyone wins a gold medal they are a target but when a heavyweight like Anthony wins a gold medal, he is a huge target," he said.
"It has probably been a nine- or 10-month process for us to get this done but that is what I'm so pleased about.
"He has a great head on his shoulders and a great team already around him, I'm delighted he has taken his time and made the right decision.
"The heavyweight division is the most powerful division in British boxing and I think we have the foundations of a great heavyweight fighter here."
Hearn also confirmed that he intends to put Joshua in at least another two fights before the end of the year, with undercard billing on the next Brook and Froch fights likely to be the next step.
I have nothing against the guy, but the target on his back is because he got the top spot while most people had him losing his fights at the Olympics. If he wasn't so vulnerable, there'd be no target on…Comment by Tonyu on 07-26-2013
[QUOTE=joe strong;13591220]I don't follow amateurs. 3 rounds, headgear & a stupid scoring system. winning a gold medal doesn't mean much to me as i have witnessed david defigbon & willie dewitt fail to accomplish anything as a pro following a…Comment by joe strong on 07-26-2013
I don't follow amateurs. 3 rounds, headgear & a stupid scoring system. winning a gold medal doesn't mean much to me as i have witnessed david defigbon & willie dewitt fail to accomplish anything as a pro following a medal…Post a Comment/View More User Comments (3)