While some fear Joshua’s Wembley Stadium date this weekend has come too early, he believes it is his destiny to take such a huge step up in class
ANTHONY JOSHUA says he has answered a call of duty by accepting his world-title showdown with Wladimir Klitschko.
While a potential £15million payday will doubtless have helped, Britain’s IBF champ says he is giving the heavyweight division the shot in the arm it needs by agreeing to a mega-fight so early in his career.
On fight night minus three, Joshua and 41-year-old Klitschko turned out for a public workout at Wembley Arena — giving a couple of thousand locals the chance to get up close and personal, to smell the sweat and leather.
And while some fear Joshua’s Wembley Stadium date with Dr Steelhammer has come too early, the Londoner believes it is his destiny to take such a huge step up in class.
Joshua said: “It was bound to happen. I felt the division needed it. I’m not doing it just for myself. I’m always about the industry.
“Wladimir Klitschko, WBC champion Deontay Wilder, let’s keep it going.
“Let’s start mixing it up because we’re in the same division.
“What type of era are we if we don’t come together and have some trilogies and bring some excitement?”
The 90,000 tickets sold out almost instantly for what will be the best-attended and richest fight ever on British soil — meaning there is no need for 27-year-old AJ to indulge in any fake trash-talking before the third defence of the crown he won only a year ago.
Joshua said: “Globally, this fight is massive. Also, to sell out the stadium without having to do the traditional entertainment to make a fight just shows that kids can fight from different backgrounds.
“Where me and Klitschko are at, we don’t need to be trash-talking.
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“I knew the significance of this fight before I took it. I’d never put that pressure upon myself if I didn’t want to deal with it.
“But I want to fight guys in the division who are good. I don’t want to wait like eight, nine years before I start making a move on the division — let’s get it on now.
“So if this is what comes with stepping up a level, I’m all for it.
“It’s destiny. I’m meant for this. I’m built for this.
“Let’s say we strip away all the excitement, the hype and just put us together. Go at it for 12 rounds, get down and dirty.
“I don’t look at it like ‘Oh my God. I’m fighting a guy who has been through it’.
“I just look at it as ‘I’m fighting this guy called Wladimir Klitschko’ and we’ve got 12 rounds.”
AJ finished his eight-week training camp in Sheffield and headed to the capital yesterday, where legendary MC Michael Buffer got his vocal cords warmed up for Saturday by introducing the local hero to his public last night.
But even as he prepared for the fight of his life, he had one eye on the future — and the possibility of conquering the US market.
Joshua added: “America is the mecca of boxing. If we can cross over to the States and keep the fan base in the UK, we’ve cracked it.
“All I have to do is get out there, show them what my trade is and, hopefully, they’ll appreciate it and, hopefully, we can start talking about setting up major fights. That would be phenomenal.”