Olympic gold medal winner Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) went through some very dangerous waters back in April, when he stopped former division ruler Wladimir Klitschko in eleven rounds to unify the WBA, IBO, IBF heavyweight titles .
Joshua, who had Klitschko down in the fifth round, was in trouble by the end of the same round - and then he was dropped hard during the sixth. As Klitschko was attempting to finish him off, Joshua warned him to close the show or suffer the consequences.
“When I’m talking to Klitschko after he’s knocked me down, I’m just letting him know that ‘if you let me get through this next round, I’m going to knock you the f*** out’,” Joshua said, according to The Sun.
“It was just the warrior in me reassuring myself that I was still in the fight. The one thing my coach has never taught me is how to take a punch and lie down for ten seconds and get up before the count is over. He’s never come into the gym with a baseball bat and said ‘what we’re going to do is smack you around the jaw ten times and you’re going to lay on the floor and then see if you can get up’.
But Klitschko, while taking over the fight, was unable to finish off the much younger man.
Joshua would rally back, dropping Klistchko two times in the eleventh and then landing a barrage of punches to force the stoppage.
“It’s a situation where you’re in a fight or flight mode and what I learned about myself that night against Klitschko was that I have the deep down character that no-one can teach you in training," Joshua said.
“When you’re up against someone who can match you punch for punch, power for power and speed for speed, it becomes who you are and how bad you want it. That fight was everything I’d trained for, for the last eight years. Forget everything else, it was mano-a-mano. This was me and Klitschko, this was about pride. When it comes to boxing I strip everything back to reality and focus on what it really is. It’s just me and a man coming to blows. And the best man will win.”
The next opponent for Joshua, is Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev, who is the mandatory challenger under the IBF. That contest takes place on October 28th in Cardiff.