By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
ANTHONY JOSHUA says his days of being bossed around are over.
The WBA, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion puts his belts and reputation on the line on Saturday against WBO title holder Joseph Parker.
Their fight in front of 80,000 fans at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium comes 11 months on from the night Joshua picked himself off the floor to stop former heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley.
It was a titanic battle which Joshua finally ended in the 11th round.
But while Klitschko did his best to control their pre-fight skirmishes, Joshua says he is now the one in the driving seat.
The 28-year-old proved it when he went face-to-face with Parker at their final press conference.
“I went back to when I fought Klitschko,” said Joshua.
“When I was facing off with him, he was saying: ‘Okay, we have done this before and we turn to the front in five, four, three, two...’
“I thought ‘This motherf****r is experienced.’ That was all about control, he was trying to out-man me a bit.
“I thought I could look at Parker for 10 minutes, but I decided no. When I was facing him off, it is about showing no fear but at the same time I thought, ‘How long will I stand here for?’”
Joshua may have taken over from Klitschko as the man to beat but he still seeks guidance from the Ukrainian’s ex-trainer Johnathon Banks.
“I chat to Johnathon Banks a lot from back when I trained with Klitschko,” he said. “I use the conversations as a way to speak to Klitschko.
“How did he forever want to improve? I ask these questions. He told me they worked a lot on his jab and his movement before the fight with me. It’s humbling to know that he got beat a few times and managed to come back. But I just think there is no room for mistakes anymore in this day in age.
“Why do I enjoy it? Because I want to be the best me. Even in these good times when I’m winning we’re not satisfied.
“It’s a challenge to myself isn’t it? How far can I go? Is it an addiction? Yeah. It’s a fun addiction though. It’s a challenging addiction but it’s fun. I still enjoy it too.
“What’s challenging? Finding ways to improve and new ways to get better.”
While Joshua has no room for error, Parker says he has no room for excuses after operations on both his elbows before Christmas.
“If I win this fight I’m the best in the world, if I lose this fight then he is the best in the world,” the unbeaten Kiwi said.
“There are no excuses on our side. We are 100 percent ready for this fight. The speed is back, the power is back and it is just about executing it on fight night.”
* Sky Sports Box Office will show the fight exclusively on Saturday. Buy now at www.sky.com/orderboxoffice