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Hearn Will Be a Bag of Nerves During Joshua Debut

Eddie Hearn expects to have his nerves tested after choosing what he describes as an "outrageous" opponent for Anthony Joshua's professional debut.

The Matchroom promoter has selected Italian Emanuele Leo, unbeaten in eight fights, to launch Joshua's career in the paid ranks at the O2 on Saturday night.

Olympic champion Joshua has faced more formidable foes during his 43-bout amateur career, but Hearn believes he could have taken a much easier opener.

"We've been outrageous really in choosing an 8-0 Italian who's here to win the fight," Hearn said.

"Most of the times at this level you match them against a journeyman who has come over to take the money, put on a decent show but ultimately lose.

"In that respect it's quite nerve-wracking. But as a promoter and fan I want to be nervous and know that he's in a proper fight and not an exhibition."

Joshua, who co-headlines the bill with Scott Quigg's challenge against Yoandris Salinas for a portion of the WBA world super-bantamweight title, insists facing Leo over six rounds is about establishing respect.

"My opponent is here to win, I'm there to win. It will be a great start. It's about respect," Joshua said.

"I want to get respect by beating an opponent that I shouldn't be beating. By fighting an opponent with that type of record I'll get respect.

"I'm going in as an Olympic champion so it's time to step up and raise the bar. I've got to start at a level that's credible for an Olympic champion.

"Becoming a professional has been tough, everything's based around three-threes, but my body's adapting really well. It's been tough but good."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Adamjr91 on 10-04-2013

Shut up Eddie, you f'ing crook :spank:

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