World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is insisting that he has eradicated past mistakes and now has a “warrior mindset” as the clock ticks towards a fight with Kubrat Pulev.
The Nigerian born British Joshua puts his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on the line against Pulev on Saturday and comes a year after avenging his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. He believes he has evolved since then, and Pulev will find out the hard way.
“Sometimes when things are going well you keep working on your strengths,” Joshua said.
“What people call weaknesses, I call strengths that I haven’t identified yet. I saw the strengths I hadn’t identified – what [other people]call weaknesses. I enhanced them, improved them.
“Now there aren’t any chinks in my armour. I’ve worked a lot on honing my craft. This will be a tough fight but I need to retain my belts. I have a warrior mindset.
“In my mind, nothing else is important apart from Pulev. That is my focus,” Joshua told Sky news.
A fight against WBC champion Tyson Fury for the undisputed championship looms in 2021 if Joshua can dispatch Pulev on Saturday.
Both Joshua and Pulev looked lean and fit at Wednesday evening’s workouts – the challenger shadow-boxed for several minutes but the champion went through a far more ominous routine.
Joshua spent upwards of 20 minutes wrapping his hands in the most professional manner despite it only being for a public workout – that is a trick he learned from Wladimir Klitschko, the long-standing former champion, and something he has recently added to his own preparation.
He then insisted cameras were switched off and everybody except his training team left the room before going through one of his final workouts before he trades punches with Pulev.
Pulev said: “Saturday is the most important day of my life. I trained since I was 12, I became a champion in Bulgaria when I was 14.
“This is my dream, this was the dream of my father.
“Knockout? I just need this win. I want to do it for my father, for my country, for Bulgarian sport. Not just for me.
“I am ready. I know this is my time. I wanted this fight, I waited a long time for it.”