Following a tumultuous 2019 that saw him lose his trio of heavyweight titles via upset knockout only to be criticized for how safe he fought in winning them back, Anthony Joshua has learned to let the criticism of others slide off of him.
Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) believes he’s a better person for having experienced his two-fight series with Andy Ruiz Jr. and plans to show that on Saturday when he faces mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) in front of a quarantined attendance of 1,000 fans inside London’s Wembley Arena (DAZN, 2 p.m. ET).
“The pressure I went through last year was tough but it made me stronger mentally with thicker skin,” Joshua said during Thursday’s final press conference. “I have always been tough and wanted to fight the best, that’s not the issue. What have I to lose? I only have to gain.”
Despite Pulev’s lack of a crossover name, Joshua has plenty of respect for the danger that the native of Bulgaria brings.
The 39-year-old Pulev attacked former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko with reckless endangerment during his lone pro defeat in 2014 before Klitschko delivered a knockout blow. It was a fight in which Joshua, then just a handful of fights into his pro career, served as one of Klitschko’s chief sparring partners in training camp.