GB's Anthony Joshua can be as good as Lennox Lewis, says coach
British Olympic Dreams
- Date: Saturday, 22 October
Coverage: Watch the full interview with Anthony Joshua on BBC One at 1300 BST, BBC News Channel at 0030 BST & 1530 BST (and Sunday, 23 October at 1030 BST & 2230 BST) and afterwards on iPlayer
British super-heavyweight Anthony Joshua can have a career to rival that of Lennox Lewis, according to his coach Sean Murphy.
Joshua, 21, took silver at the recent World Amateur Championships in only his second senior multi-nations tournament.
The Londoner beat Olympic and world champion Roberto Cammerelle on the way.
"As long as he lives right and doesn't get carried away with what everyone's saying, he'll go to the top - he'll be the next Lennox Lewis," said Murphy.
"I see him going as far as Lennox Lewis."
“I wouldn't mind being there and being a waterboy, but to be involved with the 2012 Olympics? I'm over the moon”
Joshua's rise has been spectacular since he took up boxing aged 18, and he lost by just one point to home fighter Magomedrasul Medzhidov in Azerbaijan.
"I won the silver but lost the gold," Joshua told BBC Sport. "It was painful at first to know I was so close, just a point away.
"To bring back gold to the nation would have [made] my heart full of joy, but half an hour later I was back with the team and everybody was rejoicing.
"I'm happy I achieved something for the country and myself that we didn't really expect."
Inspired by the likes of Lewis, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, there have already been plenty of people quick to agree with Murphy that a glittering future awaits Joshua.
- Born: 15/10/89
- Lives: London
- Weight: 91kg+ (14st 4lb)
- Height: 1.98m (6ft 6ins)
- Started boxing: Aged 18
- 2009 ABAE senior novice champion
- 2009 & 2010 Haringey Box Cup - gold
- 2010 ABAE elite national champion
- 2011 ABAE elite national champion
- 2011 World Championships - silver
"I was ranked number 46 in the world before I went to the Worlds but I knew I wanted to be in a better-ranked position," he said.
"It's amazing to be ranked number two in the world now. It's an amazing accomplishment.
"What got us here is the same thing that will keep on getting us through, so I'm not going to change much and get too over confident and start over believing in myself - that little bit of doubt keeps you on your toes."
Murphy might have high expectations of his charge but he insists that Joshua remain focused from day to day.
"That's where I come in, because I keep him back down to earth," said Murphy.
"When he comes into the gym, he's not a star, he's just another boxer. If he starts thinking that he is a star, he's soon told and put into line."
"It's not a bad thing he got the world silver medal. In doing that a lot of people are going to look at him as the favourite for London 2012. He's beaten Cammarelle, the world number one and was very unlucky in the final.
"That puts pressure on a fighter, but I think Anthony is big enough not to let that bother him.
"I've always told him never to worry about losing - you're beaten before you get in there if that's the way you're going to think. You've got to get in there and do your best, and that's what Anthony does."
Joshua does admit, however, that the chance to compete in an Olympic Games in his home town is something that sets the pulse racing.
"It will be amazing," said the Finchley-based fighter. "Words can't describe, it means everything.
"I wouldn't mind being there and being a waterboy, but to be involved with the 2012 Olympics? I'm over the moon."