By Elliot Foster
Anthony Joshua admitted to being dropped in sparring by David Price –– but still vowed to come out on top in his next fight.
The WBA Super, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion told media at the Dorchester Hotel that he had been floored by the Olympic bronze medallist as he was hyping up his unification showdown with WBO champion Joseph Parker.
The pair met in London on Tuesday to promote their March 31 fight at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office.
And Joshua was quick to address such claims before hearing that Parker’s plan was to “put on a great performance, hopefully catch him on the chin and knock him out.”
“A lot of people have spoke about me getting dropped and, hand on my heart, have used it as a PR stunt, in terms of what you’re using it as, too,” Joshua told Duco Events head David Higgins at the top table in front of a packed presser.
“It’s a marketability strategy. And when you want to talk about facts, the three times I’ve been hurt or dropped were in the European Championships when [my coach Rob] McCracken knows I was actually banned from the GB team because I was still getting in to trouble.
“I went back to Watford, I stopped boxing and two weeks before that European Championships, I was called up to represent the country. I was very unfit but I didn’t get dropped, I was stopped. When your tank is empty, it’s hard to perform.”
The subject of Joshua being put on the canvas by Price has long been on the lips of many boxing fans and although many knew it to have been the case, this is likely the first time that the former Olympic champion and two-time ABA champion has admitted it publicly.
“The second time was with David Price. I’d come out of a police cell the day I went up to training, but David Price is a puncher and I had a lack of experience.
“The other time was with [Wladimir] Klitschko, [in round six of their April 29 world title fight at Wembley Stadium], and all three times taught me that it would take more than a human to stop me from getting where I’m destined to be.”
Parker left the press conference with a parting shot to 29-year-old Joshua, saying: “I’m going to get that win and I’ll be unified, trust me.”
Higgins, however, brushed off Joshua's talk of "more than a human" being needed to beat him.
"A lot of people talk about AJ being unbeatable, but really our job is to just analyse the two boxers and highlight where we think we have advantages and where his disadvantages lie. That's all we're doing. There is no reason for him to be rattled about it at all," Higgins told Sky Sports.
"I think 'you have to be more than human to stop me' is just silly stuff really, because obviously he has been dropped a few times. He's definitely stoppable.
"Towards the end, if AJ's tiring, remember he squares up a bit and he's there to be hurt to some extent, then he might be a sitting duck. If Joseph gets him in trouble, I would say he'll finish him and win by stoppage."