Anthony Joshua Brit says Klitschko win will take him towards greatness

The Briton faces the former world heavyweight No 1 in front of 90,000 fans at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

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Britain's Anthony Joshua has knocked out all of his professional opponents play

Britain's Anthony Joshua has knocked out all of his professional opponents

(AFP)
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Anthony Joshua claims victory over Wladimir Klitschko will take him a step closer to being remembered as an all-time boxing great.

The Briton faces the former world heavyweight No 1 in front of 90,000 fans at London's Wembley Stadium on Saturday in the biggest fight the division has seen in years.

Joshua makes a third defence of his International Boxing Federation (IBF) title and can also capture the vacant World Boxing Association (WBA) belt if he can extend his unbeaten professional record to 19 wins.

The 27-year-old, who has knocked out all of his professional opponents, is aiming to become as dominant as Klitschko was, until the Ukrainian's nine-and-a-half year reign as champion was ended by a shock points loss to Tyson Fury in November 2015.

The 2012 Olympic gold medallist insists he has not overlooked the danger of 41-year-old Klitschko, who has not fought since the Fury setback.

"I don't underestimate any opponent," Joshua said at a pre-fight press conference at the London headquarters of UK satellite broadcaster Sky on Thursday.

"No matter how big it is, I always try to strip everything back to reality and it’s just me and a man swapping blows.

"I’m still up early in the morning and working late at night to prepare myself mentally and physically for any battle.

"April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness.

"Failure is without trying. There's no fear that trembles through my body and I never underestimate any man. It's not rocket science. Let's strip it back to what it is and I’m someone who has left no stone unturned," Joshua added.

"I've prepared for this from day one and it will just be a win on the record and then we move forward."

Joshua wants to become a global icon like previous world heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis.

'Carry my name with pride'

But the England-born boxer, who has Nigerian parents, insists fame has not and will not change him.

Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko insists he was enjoying being challenger again play

Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko insists he was enjoying being challenger again

(AFP)

"Carrying the belt doesn't change me as a person," said Joshua. "I'm who I am, with or without the belt. It's having the champion’s mentality with or without the belt.

"I can carry my name with pride. My name is Joshua and behind me there's a million people who come from the same background as me."

Joshua, however, has turned his life around after being arrested for possessing cannabis and intent to supply in 2010.

He only took up boxing in 2008 and four years later he won Olympic gold as a novice amateur. Success quickly followed in the professional ranks after he made his paid debut three-and-a-half years ago.

"He's the perfect example of how boxing can change someone's life. He wants to challenge himself," said promoter Eddie Hearn.

Memory stick

Klitschko was world champion even before Joshua had laced up a glove.

He insisted Thursday he was enjoying being challenger again as he attempts to become a three-time world heavyweight champion, following in the footsteps of his elder brother Vitali, Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Ali.

"I'm going to fight a guy who is the exact number that I have been boxing, 27 years," said Klitschko.

Britain's Anthony Joshua (L) sizes up Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko at Sky broadcasting headquarters in west London on April 27, 2017 play

Britain's Anthony Joshua (L) sizes up Ukraine's Wladimir Klitschko at Sky broadcasting headquarters in west London on April 27, 2017

(AFP)

"Is it a degradation that I'm actually the underdog and challenger after being 27 years in the sport? I don't think so, I think it's great.

"I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands as the winner."

Klitschko has recorded a video of himself predicting the outcome of Saturday's fight and put it on a memory stick which will be sealed into the robe he wears to the ring to face Joshua.

After the fight, Klitschko will auction off the robe -- along with his pre-fight prediction on the memory stick -- for his charity the Klitschko Foundation.

"I see myself in AJ (Joshua), I know how he thinks, what he's going to do and how the fight is going to be. I'm not Nostradamus, but I feel so strong in my obsession," Klitschko said.

"Obsession is love in extreme shape so I'm in love with my goal. My goal, my obsession and love, is that those belts will come back to my corner."

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