‘You’ve got to stay switched on. The body can get soft easy’: Anthony Joshua raises eyebrows by insisting on sparring just two days out from Saturday’s world title clash with Kubrat Pulev
- Time will tell if Anthony Joshua’s sessions hint at a disrupted preparation
- The view from the Joshua camp is that there is no reason for there to be alarm
- Joshua defends his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO titles against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev
- The consensus is that Pulev doesn’t have the raw strength to bully Joshua
After a cordial bump of fists with his challenger, Anthony Joshua left his final press conference on Thursday evening in hope of a few more shots from his sparring partners.
It has been a curious aspect of the build up to Saturday’s clash with Kubrat Pulev for the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles that Joshua is still engaging in sparring of any description so close to the first bell.
Certainly it has raised eyebrows in some corners of the fight bubble, and time will tell if these sessions in a Hilton hotel conference room hint at a disrupted preparation, given the conventional practice is to complete sparring in advance of the final week.
It is curious that Anthony Joshua is engaging in sparring sessions so close to Saturday’s fight
Joshua will take on mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev at the SSE Arena in Wembley
The view from the Joshua camp is that there is no cause for alarm, and that the exchanges, in the words of his trainer Rob McCracken, have amounted to little more than ‘tippy tappy stuff’.
When asked about the somewhat unconventional approach on Thursday, Joshua said: ‘You’ve got to stay switched on. The body can get soft easy. You’ve got to stay switched on, shots coming at you, gauging distance, feeling different shots.
‘I want someone in the ring imitating Pulev, so that’s good. I want to spar tonight.’
The view from the Joshua camp is that there is no cause for alarm ahead of the weekend
He added: ‘It’s just keeping your eye in. I could hit the pads, but they don’t hit back. The heavy bag doesn’t move, having a live opponent in front of you, moving your legs, it becomes second nature.
‘We did eight rounds (on Wednesday), six with the head guard and two without. Rob didn’t like it!’
While Pulev, 39, has an engaging life story, and speaks of his motivation to win a title in honour of his late father, Joshua remains the heavy favourite for the fight at the SSE Arena.
The consensus is that Pulev doesn’t have the raw strength to bully Joshua in the manner of Andy Ruiz in their first fight.
Joshua will be defending his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles against the Bulgarian
Joshua also believes he acquired a tactical advantage from his stint as a sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko in 2014, when the Ukrainian was preparing to inflict Pulev’s only defeat in 29 fights.
Joshua said: ‘At the time I didn’t really understand the whole implications of the way Wladimir was training, but I have actually implemented some of the stuff he did in my training for this camp.
‘Preparation is key, experience is important and I have learnt from the best and it will pay off.’
The belief is Pulev doesn’t have the raw strength to bully Joshua in the manner of Andy Ruiz