Anthony Joshua says he is desperate to silence the doubters when he faces Kubrat Pulev in London on Saturday night.
AJ defends his IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles against the veteran Bulgarian at Wembley’s SSE Arena (live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN).
While the 39-year-old Pulev (28-1) is a big underdog, Joshua refuses to look past him to a potential clash with Tyson Fury. He says his motivation is so great, he feels more challenger than champion.
“I’m just more motivated than him. I know that this is everything to me,” he told Ak and Barak on DAZN.
“I feel like I’m fighting for the title – a challenger coming in to fight the champion. But I know I’ve done everything I can possible to make sure I get this win. And I’m willing to go in deep waters. Whatever Pulev brings to the table, I hope I make it look easy because I’m that well prepared.”
While Joshua has an enormous global fan base and regularly packed 90,000 in Wembley Stadium before the COVID-19 pandemic, his motivation is the people on the other side of the fence.
“Even though I’ve got people who support me, I wanna focus on the doubters and the negative energy, and I want to prove them wrong. I’m motivated people. I’ve learned this year that not everybody’s for me. This is just me and my journey and I want to prove my doubters wrong.
“That’s the motivation with Pulev – he’s another opponent in my way that I know people are going to be talking negative about, saying ‘he aint a real fighter’.
“Then we’re gonna fight, then they’re gonna discredit my performance one way or another. So I realise I gotta be motivated, I’ve got to look good, I’ve got to box good, I’ve gotta be slick and I’ve gotta get this win. That’s the most important thing, to show the world why I’m heavyweight champion of the world.”
The pandemic has hit many sections of society incredibly hard, and Joshua has put his mind and focus on one area in particular.
“I think you’ve gotta support local businesses, they really suffered through this pandemic. So if you have friends, local butcher’s, local grocery store. Support them because they’ve got to survive. Big corporations are here eating up all these small businesses. So I support a lot of grass-roots businesses, a lot of small companies.”
Joshua’s partnership with promoter Eddie Hearn has been hugely successful now over a number of years. As they stand on the brink of a massive showdown with Fury, AJ explained why it works so well.
“Me and Eddie, we’re mates. Eddie’s cool, he’s a good guy, he works hard. He has a lot of respect for me, he respects my family. He’s done good by me and I’ve done good by him. When you have a good working relationship, friendship is easy to thrive on.”