By Scott Gilfoid: With heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua (5-0, 5 KO’s) matched up against an over-matched opponent in 38-year-old Matt Legg (7-2, 3 KO’s) for his 8-round fight this Saturday night at Wembley Stadium, Joshua admits that he’s not feeling any pressure at all about this fight. He attributes this to him having dealt with pressure from the 2012 London Olympics in which he captured the gold medal, but you have to also see it as a case of Joshua being matched against a guy that has little chance of beating him in Legg. After all, this guy is just being brought in for Joshua to look good against while getting in some practice.
“No pressure, I’ve dealt with the pressure throughout the Olympics in my amateur career and that’s put me in good stead for such an amazing, such an epic fight coming Saturday,” Joshua said to Sky Sports. “It’s going to be unbelievable, 80,000 people, hopefully we get some great weather as well. I’ll start the show, Froch and Groves will be on last.”
A lot of fans won’t be in the stadium yet when Joshua’s fight against Legg takes place since it’s the first fight of the card, but there will still be a heck of a lot more fans at the fight than what the 6’6” Joshua has been accustomed to fighting in front of since he turned pro.
Hearn is going to need to think about stepping Joshua up sooner or later because he’s not doing him any favors by matching him against weak opposition. It’s OK to go soft with a guy with zero to very little amateur experience, but when you’ve won an Olympic gold medal as Joshua has, you’re supposed to be matched immediately with good opponents because the Olympic fights are equal to 15-30 fights as a pro. Of course, you can see it as a situation where Joshua’s gold medal was won in controversial fashion with two highly questionable wins over Erislandy Savon and Roberto Cammarelle for Joshua. A lot of boxing fans saw Joshua losing both of those fights in the London Olympics. But it wasn’t just those two fights where Joshua struggled. He also had major problems against Kazakhstan’s Ivan Dychko and China’s Zhilei Zhang.
I had Joshua losing to those two fighters as well. When you look at Joshua’s less than impressive performances in the Olympics and then see the series questionable wins, it’s quite understandable why Hearn would want to take a go slow approach with Joshua. He needs a lot of work before he’ll be ready to take on the contenders in the heavyweight division. Right now, you have to see Joshua as kind of a project still because of how green he looks. He may never work out, but I guess we’ll find out in the next 5-10 years.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for my opponent, you know he’s a British fighter which makes it all the more exciting,” Joshua said. “He’s got a lot of support as well. I feel that I haven’t got any anger for him, any red mist so I’ll be cool, calm and collected and just hopefully put on a good show.”