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Joshua reveals he overcame a bout of illness in build-up to triumph against Povetkin

PUBLISHED: 15:00 24 September 2018

Anthony Joshua (right) hits out against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Anthony Joshua (right) hits out against Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium (pic Nick Potts/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Anthony Joshua had felt like a gust of wind would knock him down ahead of his successful world heavyweight title defence last Saturday, due to a bout of flu.

Anthony Joshua celebrates defeating Alexander Povetkin by knockout at Wembley Stadium (pic Nick Potts/PA)Anthony Joshua celebrates defeating Alexander Povetkin by knockout at Wembley Stadium (pic Nick Potts/PA)

Joshua could face Deontay Wilder or Dillian Whyte in his next fight — and there is also the prospect of a bout with Tyson Fury — after clinically stopping Alexander Povetkin to retain his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.

But a debilitating head cold meant the 28-year-old former Finchley amateur fighter was worried he would not be in condition to perform at Wembley Stadium.

“I’ve been ill this last week,” he said in a number of national newspapers.

“And you know when you start thinking to yourself ‘these signs are bad’, but I pulled through.

“It hit me last week Friday. I had it over the weekend and I thought by Wednesday it would be gone. But I only started feeling better on Friday.

“It was still there in my head, I had a head cold. I felt like a heavy gust of wind could knock me over.

“On my way to the stadium, I was thinking I can have one more sleep.

“But I felt this way in training camp and still sparred 15 good rounds, so I’ve got one geezer in the ring who will fade sooner or later, so let’s just get on with it.”

Joshua is looking for an opponent for his April 13, 2019 date at Wembley Stadium — and Barry Hearn has warned Fury’s promoter Frank Warren that a 50-50 purse split is not acceptable.

A prospective all-British super-fight would be an intriguing and tantalising prospect to many, but Hearn, head of Joshua’s promoters Matchroom, responded furiously to an assertion from Warren on BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme that the pair would share the proceeds of the big-money bout.

Fury is set to face WBC champion Wilder in the United States in December and it is widely assumed the winner will then open negotiations for a contest to unify the belts early next year.

Hearn, who watched Joshua dispatch Povetkin at Wembley on Saturday night, said: “It’s not a 50-50 split against the best heavyweight in the world – you can forget that completely.”

Hearn believes Wilder will beat Fury in December, which would pave the way for what would appear to be a much more straight-forward series of negotiations with the American’s camp.

And he turned his anger back on the show’s presenter Garry Richardson, adding: “It’s outrageous on national radio to try to agree terms to a commercial fight. You should know better, and Radio 5 should be ashamed of themselves.

“Wilder or Tyson Fury subject to terms on April 13, without a problem in the world — but you (Warren) will ask for a ridiculous amount of money and it won’t be made.”

Warren insisted if Fury does pull off an upset over Wilder, Joshua will be unable to escape the pressure to square off against his long-time domestic rival.

“I believe Tyson Fury will be the winner of that fight so why on earth would anyone want to stand in its way?” Warren added.

“Everybody is sensible enough to make sure that big fights happen and I don’t believe anybody will stop that fight from happening.

“The only person who can stop that fight happening is Anthony Joshua.”

Fury himself appeared less optimistic than Warren, though, and tweeted on Sunday in a post which appears to have since been deleted: “I have to say the saddest thing ever the British fight fans will never get to see Fury vs Joshua.

“That’s a crying shame! It’s the biggest British fight in history of boxing in Briton (sic), but sky & matchroom have robbed the paying public again. Ask your self why don’t they want this?”

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