By Johnny Walker
While most of the heavyweight headlines (and oxygen) have been taken up by vociferous Brits Tyson Fury, Dereck Chisora, and David Haye in the last few years, Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua (8-0,8 KOs) is determined to keep his mouth shut and let his fists do the talking as he makes his way up the heavyweight ladder.
While Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is convinced his charge can already dispose of Fury and Chisora (“He destroys Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora right got now … There’s not even a question”), the giant, 6’6″ fighter is determined not to get ahead of himself in the way that, for instance, fellow Brit David Price did before being brought down to earth by American veteran Tony Thompson.
In interviews, Price was already making plans for his title reign until he was knocked out twice by the American in front of his hometown fans in Liverpool.
Ahead of Saturday’s scheduled clash at the 02 Arena in London with rugged veteran Denis Bakhtov, however, the modest Joshua remains firmly grounded.
“I don’t want to start saying certain things about certain people because they don’t hold much substance at the level I’m at,” says the rising heavyweight.
“At the level I’m at I will dominate and move up.
“Once I get to their level, I have to beat certain fighters before I can fight [people like Tyson] Fury.
“In my small world I’ve got to keep it simple and the time will come,” Joshua sensibly figures.
Such rhetoric is miles away from the look-at-me braggadocio of the Fury/Haye/Chisora variety, and suggests that this is one British heavyweight who might have some staying power.
Joshua weighed in today at a muscular 236 pounds for his fight with the grizzled 34-year-old Bakhtov (38-9, 25 KOs), who in the past has been able to extend heavyweights like Alexander Ustinov and Czar Glazkov to the limit.
Bakhtov tipped the scales at 228 pounds.
Joshua, however, has been disposing of the fighters put in front of him with alacrity, and Bakhtov seems unlikely to stop this trend.