Anthony Joshua MBE and Gary Cornish came face-to-face for the first time yesterday ahead of their clash for the vacant Commonwealth Heavyweight title at The O2 on Saturday September 12, live on Sky Sports.
Joshua is in the process of turning The O2 into a hometown fortress having made his debut there back in October 2013 and in his last outing destroying former World title challenger Kevin Johnson in the Greenwich venue in May. The 25 year old has expressed his affection for Scotland though after receiving a hero’s reception in Glasgow when he boxed there in March 2013, and the Londoner hopes fight fans from north of the border will come and support Cornish – but warned that there will be no stopping his rise to the top.
“There’s no turning back now,” said Joshua. “I thought I would need three years to learn and make mistakes, so I am ahead of schedule. Gary won’t just talk a good game like Kevin Johnson, he’s undefeated and will bring it on the night because he’s got confidence of an unbeaten fighter and he’ll bring the best out of me and I’ll do the same for him.
“The date has given me a chance to recover my body from May 30 and have a nice long camp for September 12, so I expect to be at my explosive best on the night.
“Gary brings the Scottish crowd who are unbelievable and I hope they travel down as it’s going to be a great night.”
Unbeaten Scotsman Cornish landed the vacant IBO Inter-Continental title in May in Glasgow. His fourth round stoppage win over Zoltan Csala was his eighth win inside the distance in his last nine fights, and the 28 year old is full of confidence ahead of what he believes is a 50-50 fight.
“I’m very hungry for this fight,” said Cornish. “We’ve both beaten what has been put in front of us, no more, no less. My KO record is building because I’ve found my power now and I know I will cause him more problems than everyone else he’s boxed, combined.
“We’re a step-up in class for each other, I know that I am the underdog but I would not be here if I didn’t believe I could beat him and beat him convincingly.
“If I wanted to fight him for the money, I would wait until next year when I would be 26-0 and the fight might be for more than one belt – I am ready now and I’ll prove it on September 12.
“I know what I have to do – I am not looking forward to the camp because I know how hard I have to work to be ready for this fight, but I will put that work in and more because that’s the only way I know how to train.”
Cornish’s manager and promoter Tommy Gilmour added: “What Anthony Joshua has done so far is nothing short of sensational, but we’re not here to make up the numbers, this is two undefeated prospects that are putting their careers to date on the line, it’s fantastic for British boxing.
“I could’ve found Gary 20 more wins no problem, but he wanted this fight and he’s so excited. Gary has been accused sometimes of fighting patsy’s but it’s never been the case, because the way he goes about his job, he has made them look ordinary.
“Yes, it would be an upset, but Gary has never lost, he doesn’t know what it feels like to lose and he doesn’t want to. If Anthony doesn’t KO Gary inside one or two rounds then people will ask questions of him, all the pressure is on him, but don’t underestimate Gary.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Its two unbeaten Heavyweights and an Englishman versus Scotsman – so this is going to be a great build-up. As Anthony said, Gary won’t just talk about fighting and run. Gary believes that this is a 50-50 fight and I expect him to approach the night accordingly, and he’s going to bring passionate fans down with him.”
There is a bumper card packed with cracking action in support as Dave Ryan and John Wayne Hibbert return to the venue of their brilliant battle in May, where Ryan claimed a ninth round win having hit the canvas twice in the first half of the fight.
Brixton’s Dillian Whyte will have his eyes on the main event on the night as he looks at a fight with the winner in the winter and continues his preparation having already been added to the card in Hull on August 1, where Joshua’s fellow Olympic gold medal hero Luke Campbell MBE meets Tommy Coyle, live on Sky Sports.
Unbeaten St. Neots talent Tommy Martin faces Islington’s Charlie Rice, there’s a local derby between Ricky Boylan and Danny Connor, Watford starlet Reece Bellotti will be looking to extend his hot KO run to three since his May debut and there are pro bows on the card for bright young prospects Ted Cheeseman and Jake Ball.
Tickets are on general sale priced at £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 tickets available from The O2 at www.theO2.co.uk and on 0844 856 0202, with the £250 VIP tickets exclusively available from www.MatchroomBoxing.com.
Tickets for September 12 are also available from stubhub.co.uk. StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.