Joshua: I Won’t Go “Tyson Mode” vs. Klitschko
IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is less than a week away from the biggest fight of his life. In the former dominant champion Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua has an opponent that can truly test his abilities and prove that he is the sport’s next heavyweight star.
With his intimidating physique and knockout power, Joshua (18-0) certainly looks the part of ‘heavyweight king’ more than Klitschko did in his reign. But Klitschko (64-4) is a cerebral fighter, one with significantly more experience than Joshua. If the young British champ is going to be victorious on Saturday, he knows that he needs his mental game in check as much as he will rely on his physical advantages.
“Fighting isn’t just about who has the biggest punch, you’ve got to deal with all the emotions, the trash talk, the this, the that, how your energy levels are," Joshua told Boxing Scene. "It’s just a dimension of how to win the fight and if you can control your nerves in this big arena it makes a massive difference in your performance.
“As much as you look at us physically you know how important the mental side of sport is."
Joshua says he already knows what it feels like to have his head in the wrong place, comparing himself in those moments to the most infamous heavyweight champ ever: Mike Tyson. But the British slugger is not going to fall in the same pitfalls that "Iron Mike" did decades ago.
“I’ve shut down people in an arena before when I’ve walked to the ring. And I’ve gone into Mike Tyson-mode – when you walk in like a brick and then you become stiff.
“But what I’ve learned about myself is that when I embrace it, when I’m smiling, touching people, I’m appreciating that support, I feel good.”
Joshua fights Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF and WBA heavyweight titles on Saturday, April 29.