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Audley: AJ is a wrecking machine

10:30 18 September 2015

Anthony Joshua towers over Gary Cornish during their Commonwealth heavyweight title bout at the O2 Arena (pic: Lawrence Lustig
)

Anthony Joshua towers over Gary Cornish during their Commonwealth heavyweight title bout at the O2 Arena (pic: Lawrence Lustig )

Lawrence Lustig 07831-237035

Harrison backing fellow Olympic champion Joshua

Watching Anthony Joshua dismantle unbeaten Gary Cornish on Saturday from the comfort of my home in California, my initial impression was that AJ is a serious wrecking machine at this level.

Always in great shape and growing into his role as a heavyweight contender, Joshua is starting to show the temperament and swagger befitting of a future champion.

Any fighter who rises to the top has something special that they carry from the amateurs into the professionals.

Boxing aficionados are taking notice and are getting excited about AJ’s power and strength.

Like George Foreman and our beloved Frank Bruno, AJ has the raw strength, that natural firepower that’s so deadly.

I had nimbleness, a booming left counter and great inside work that, in 2003/2004, had me climbing the ranks and turning heads on both sides of the Atlantic.

If you add in Joshua’s dedication, his obvious abilities and his young age, you have to say he has the potential to move forward up the ladder without too much trouble. But, I temper my spirit, as you can never say anything with certainty in heavyweight boxing.

I like Dylan White and I think he’s a really good fighter and will provide AJ with a stern test, but I don’t see him derailing AJ’s ascent at this time.

The big thing for AJ will be seasoning, which is something you can’t teach overnight. It’s something that happens in the gym, with the right sparring to move you along at the right pace to master your craft.

Unfortunately, very few trainers understand this, as was seen in the early careers of Wladimir Klitschko and Lennox Lewis before they got with Emanuel Steward, the master finisher and great trainer, who knew how to train fighters (especially heavyweights) and transformed so many prospects into champions and future greats.

I will watch as AJ climbs to the top and hope his team develops in him the fundamentals needed to thrive and have longevity at the top.

I’m certainly rooting for him.

*****

The return of Dynamite David Haye

One fighter who could stop Anthony Joshua’s march to the top is David Haye, a former opponent, rival and long-term comrade, who I’m proud to say is a friend once more.

We haven’t seen David in a ring since July 2012, when he dismantled Derek Chisora by TKO in their highly anticipated grudge match, following a mass brawl at a press conference in Munich to announce Klitschko vs Chisora.

David showed the concussive power that has brought him 24 KOs in 26 bouts, landing a powerful combination to end things abruptly in the fifth round. Scheduled matches with British trash-talker and soon-to-be world title challenger, Tyson Fury, have fallen through on two occasions due to injuries suffered by Haye, with the last one occurring five days before the bout, when he suffered a cut above his eye resulting in stitches.

Soon after, Haye revealed he needed surgery to repair a ruptured muscle in his right shoulder and bicep, so he didn’t return to the ring and was advised to retire by his doctors.

I recently met with David and watched him work out and go through his paces. If anyone can derail AJ, I truly believe Haye has the experience, hunger and motivation to do so.

He has spent most of his career fighting bigger, stronger opponents, so if his body can hold up to the rigours of a full intensive training camp, I believe Joshua-Haye would be a big as they come, and Haye’s speed, power and experience could be the difference if it happens next year.

My advice to Haye would be - have a few warm-ups to shake off the ring rust and don’t let ‘Fast Eddie’ tempt you into a showdown until you’re ready!

*****

Final thoughts

Now I’ve retired, many are asking what I’m going to do with myself.

Well, as a lifelong hustler and entrepreneur, I’m always looking for ways to expand my brain matter and launch the next big thing.

Unfortunately, it will not be boxing related, as the business side burnt me out but, through a partnership with my wife (I co-own a hair salon and product line), I have seen an opportunity to disrupt the hair industry in the UK on a large scale.

This innovation will be beneficial for stylists and clients alike, so I look forward to sharing more details with you soon.

Blessings

#AudleySpeaks

*Audley Harrison MBE is available for speaking on Champions after dinner speakers.

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