EXCLUSIVE: Anthony Joshua has found the perfect balance between size and speed
There comes a point when a size advantage becomes a disadvantage.
Ever since his 2016 meeting with Dominic Breazeale, Anthony Joshua has weighed in progressively heavier for each of his fights.
As is the case with most heavyweights, age has represented a gradual increase in mass for Joshua but, following the advice of head coach Rob McCracken, the time has come to buck the trend of seeing a larger figure over Joshua's shoulder each time he hits the scales.
Promoter Eddie Hearn had promised a leaner Joshua for his last fight, against Carlos Takam, but he came in heavier than ever and was taken into deep waters for only the second time in his career.
The undefeated heavyweight has been set a target https://t.co/pxkA1nbxA1
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) January 9, 2018
Following criticism of his mobility due to his increasingly muscular physique, Joshua has made no secret of his desire to slim down for his upcoming unification clash with WBO heavyweight champion Joseph Parker in Cardiff.
Speaking to JOE, Joshua said: "I always feel fit and quick but carrying too much muscle can be a negative, it is just about finding the balance and in this camp I am definitely feeling healthier.
"My training focuses on explosive power and speed conditioning. Lifting weights would limit my range of movement so I only focus on boxing specific exercises which prepare my body for the later rounds."
"I am training harder and I am focused on the task ahead. I still have a long way to go to achieve my potential and each camp is a new opportunity to learn and reflect on what has gone before. Working closely with my team we have developed a training plan which will get me in the best possible shape for March 31."
Joshua's adonic appearance did no harm whatsoever to his ability to cross over to the mainstream when he swapped the amateur circuit for the professional leagues but, at this stage of his career, aesthetics matter little and Joshua's legacy will be cemented by how valiantly he defends the 0 on his record.
He will come up against another unbeaten champion in the form of Parker at the Principality Stadium at the end of this month.
The unification contest will not only represent the perfect opportunity for Joshua to prove his staying power and speed but it will also provide 'AJ' with the chance to answer the questions raised by Parker's camp in relation to the Brit's chin.
"He’s got a wide knowledge of boxing history but that doesn’t mean anything before they go to war themselves and every fight is different," Joshua said of the claims about his ability to take a punch.
"It’s the worst kept secret in British boxing." https://t.co/vkw5z1FeFZ
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) November 23, 2017
While you wouldn't describe Joshua's decision to trim down as a weight loss journey by any means, one potential future opponent has undergone an incredible transformation.
Fellow undefeated Brit Tyson Fury has all but returned to fighting shape after ballooning up to 27 stone in his time away from the ring and while the controversial heavyweight has been applauded for his dedication to shedding the excess weight, Joshua has not been paying too much attention to his rival's Instagram updates.
"I don’t focus on Tyson Fury so had not noticed his weight loss but if that’s the case it’s good for fight fans as I’m sure they would like to see him back in the ring soon," Joshua said.
Hard work paid off 💪 https://t.co/6MRh6nzM3J
— JOE (@JOE_co_uk) March 5, 2018
"My only interest this year is unifying the heavyweight division. Once I have achieved this then we can consider the next step."
Joshua is coming to the tail end of his fight camp but isn't slacking off by any means. Earlier this week, the 28-year-old enlisted the help of former opponent Carlos Takam to provide some sparring rounds.
One thing's for certain, 'AJ' can never be accused of taking shortcuts during his meteoric rise to the very top.
Joshua said: "Normally I only have half an hour between training sessions which means I haven’t got long to refuel, so I try and maximise my recovery process in the downtime.
"This is when I will have my BULK POWDERS® Pro Series™ AFTERMATH™ Double Chocolate recovery shake."