Anthony Joshua fight diary: I’ve gone back to basics... and that includes chopping trees

Fight diary: Anthony Joshua returns to the ring this weekend  (Getty Images)
Fight diary: Anthony Joshua returns to the ring this weekend (Getty Images)

A week ago, I posted footage of me chopping wood. A lot of people have said it was like a throwback to the fighters of old.

There are images of Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and, more recently, Floyd Mayweather doing it, too. It's not so much a part of a boxer's regime nowadays but it's great training.

For me, the chopping started as I was looking at old-school techniques for how fighters train in camp. It's all part of going back to basics, and tried and tested methods for this fight.

That mindset has taken me to a change of trainer in Derrick James at his Dallas gym. His message has been pretty simple… to go back to basics. The best athletes all do the basics well. In my last fight, I feel I maybe moved away from that a little bit.

So, much of the in-camp training for the Jermaine Franklin fight at the O2 on Saturday night has been about stripping it down to the bare bones, getting my jab right, my defence, all the fundamentals of boxing.

Everyone knows I came into boxing pretty late compared to a lot of people. It sometimes meant I felt like I was on the back foot with my progression and improvement.

Earlier in my career, I was just training and fighting to win as I was moving up the ranks, doing enough to get the right result but not always improving as much as I wanted to as a fighter.

In the seven, eight months since that last Oleksandr Usyk fight, I feel I've made a big step up with that, and that's not necessarily been done by Derrick bringing in anything fancy to our camp.

What he's all about is key ingredients, doing them to the best of my ability and doing them at the right time. This isn't about attaining perfection — in boxing, in life in fact there's no such thing — but about moving forward. I really feel like I've done that the past weeks and months.

When is the end? I don’t know but I see ... a lot of big nights ahead.

A lot of people are understandably talking about this as a comeback fight — and I totally get that — but I don't see it that way.

And some people are saying if I lose then that's it… game over for me. Again, I don't see it like that, partly because losing is never in my mind.

I've been lucky enough to have been on this amazing journey: starting in the amateur ranks, the GB Boxing set-up, that Olympic gold in London, the first world title against Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley.

But it's not just the good moments that are important on that journey but the difficult ones, too, and everyone saw after the Usyk defeat how much that really hurt me.

This is just the next chapter in my story but it also feels like the start of a long run, one I'm confident will also prove to be a long run of success. Will it be my last in boxing? Yeah, I think so. But that doesn't mean I'm about to pack up any time soon.

Team: Trainer Derrick James, Anthony Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn (Getty Images)
Team: Trainer Derrick James, Anthony Joshua and promoter Eddie Hearn (Getty Images)

Boxing is still a young man's game for me, I've never shied away from that. I'm not going to be doing this into my forties.

When is the end? I don't know but I see myself boxing for another three or four years and it feels like there are a lot of big nights ahead.

The O2 on Saturday is just another one, and each and every one of them is special. I'll make sure I never take that for granted. Jermaine Franklin is a serious opponent, and he'll provide a big challenge.

That's what I want and that what my camp's been all about. I've been through the hurt locker a lot in training to prepare me for the sparring sessions initially and, ultimately, for this weekend back in London.

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