The official announcement of an opponent for Anthony Joshua’s next fight is keeping the boxing world waiting, but the preliminaries of the build-up are far from quiet. While potential adversary Kubrat Pulev is going down the tried and tested route of calling out the Brit to provoke a reaction and get his name in the headlines, AJ - recent re-claimant of the IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles - has instead been showing off his rapping skills.
Joshua’s most recent two fights have been against Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York City and Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, and his promoter Eddie Hearn has insisted that the upcoming fight will be held back in England, something which has provoked Pulev’s confident statement in which he tells Joshua that he is “ready to bust [him] up”. And he wants to come to AJ’s backyard to do it, making a fight in London look one step closer.
“Calm down champ, I see that you are very worried to fight away from home and you are absolutely right to be, haha!” proclaimed Pulev (SkySports).
“But rest assured, if necessary I'm ready to come to London and bust you up in front of your own fans! Until then, tell Mr. Hearn not to get ahead of himself, we do not have a deal yet!"
‘Mr Hearn’ last week informed the world that he and Joshua’s camp have “had offers from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey,” but that Joshua most definitely "wants to fight in London in June".
“Spurs is the frontrunner and that's what he's asked me to do." Hearn disclosed, “He's made it very clear to me, 'I want to come home. I've been to Madison Square Garden, I've been to Saudi Arabia, bring me home. Forget the other offers, bring me home.'"
Joshua’s fastest career knockout so far saw Gary Cornish the unwitting subject in 2015. It took AJ just 97 seconds to dispense of him at the O2 Arena in London. This time around in the British capital, Joshua needed just 21 to get the crowd uproarious.
Joshua joined Lisa Maffia (remember she told ya?) of So Solid Crew to spit out an iconic verse to the 2001 garage hit and UK Number One, 21 Seconds, taking over the mic for Romeo’s rendition, asking the crowd to ‘Turn up the bassline’ as he only ‘got 21 seconds to chat this rhyme in time’.
Garage Nation, in the heart of Westminster, London was treated to the vocal skills of a man more used to pitting himself against heavyweight challengers than spitting bars. Joshua, from Watford, has purportedly earmarked the brand-spanking new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as his next bout venue, a location just 20 miles away from his hometown of Watford.
‘Romeo’ may have ended his verse by saying he’s ‘Done’, but Anthony Joshua - with Pulev on the cards and an obligatory fight, is far from that. And it seems that all roads are leading to London.