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Joshua Admits To Having Sleepless Nights, Feeling Pressure

Anthony Joshua has admitted to feeling intense pressure while preparing to challenge IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in London on Saturday night.

The fight, at the O2 Arena, is only Joshua's 16th as a professional but comes after a decorated amateur career in which he won an Olympic gold medal and a promising period in which each of his previous 15 fights generated significant interest.

That he has long been considered the great hope of the heavyweight scene means he has had to progress while being a mainstream attraction and with the big audiences that regularly attracts.

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For all that he has long been groomed for this platform, however, it comes as some surprise that his first world-title challenge has arrived so soon.

Martin is similarly inexperienced, which may explain why Joshua is already fighting at world level. Yet even as the favourite for Saturday's fight and possessing a record of 15 stoppage wins, the 26-year-old has spoken of his struggle to sleep.

"Do you know what, some nights I haven't been sleeping," said Joshua. "I don't know why. It's not so much thinking about just the fight. Sometimes I might just be thinking about my boxing and how I can get better.

"I get a lot of pressure in the gym to get better so some nights I haven't been sleeping. But not this week, I've been okay this week but in camp (I've struggled).

"It has been a tough camp with a lot of pressure. My coach (Tony Sims) is something else, he works me very hard.

"What I like about (pre-fight build-up is) that it gives you an opportunity to build your nerves so that when Saturday comes, you've already learned how to deal with your nerves."

If the proposed July 9 rematch between WBA, IBO and WBO champion Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko represents the title fight between the two experienced technicians of the division, Saturday's fight between Joshua and Martin will be about athleticism and youth.

It is perhaps for that reason Joshua took the unusual step of speaking about what may be seen as a weakness, and also why the defending champion Martin, 29, believes he is facing him at the right time.

"You're always fine tuning after you turn professional," said the American, who represents the first southpaw opponent of Joshua's professional career and who at 17st 7lbs outweighs the younger fighter by one pound.

"You get better and get better as you go and I know he ain't as calm and collected as me. So getting him now is the perfect time.

"Plus I didn't want to wait and let him become my mandatory (challenger) because then he is supposed to be there.

"If I call him out early, it makes me think 'he had to gather himself and think about it'."

Promoters Matchroom will also hope Saturday provides the first highlight of many in the professional career of Conor Benn, the 19-year-old son of popular former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion Nigel.

Benn will fight the unremarkable Ivailo Boyanov of Bulgaria, and has already spoken of his desire to win world titles in three separate divisions to surpass his father and earn a similar level of respect.

Meanwhile, Lee Selby and Jamie McDonnell, respectively the IBF featherweight and WBA bantamweight champions, make the latest defences of their titles against Eric Hunter and Fernando Vargas, while George Groves is a heavy favourite against the little-known David Brophy.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Teetotaler on 04-09-2016

If hes not there mentally then hes already lost. he'll probably choke as soon as he steps in the ring like Stiverne did against wilder

Comment by Sweet_Science2 on 04-09-2016

As a professional myself I understand the thought to be great. It takes a brave person to admit they are having trouble sleeping before a big event. Usually we think people like that might be used to it. But this…

Comment by ( . Y . ) on 04-09-2016

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