Anthony Joshua has adopted an intense mindset and is ready to shock the world after returning to training in preparation for his proposed fight with Tyson Fury, says gym-mate Richard Riakporhe.
It was announced on Tuesday that Joshua and his team had accepted all terms laid out by Fury in view of a blockbuster all-British showdown on December 3.
Joshua has wasted no time in getting back to the gym since losing to Oleksandr Usyk by split decision in their August 20 rematch as he seeks to reestablish himself among the division’s belt-holders.
“It hasn’t been long (since the Usyk fight) but I feel like you just need a few days off, I don’t like to stay away from the gym for too long,” cruiserweight world title contender Riakporhe told Sky Sports.
“I feel like he’s had a bit of a break anyway in between the first Usyk fight and the second, so he knows what he needs to do to improve and they’ve kind of come up with a system.
“If they continue to follow that system eventually he’s going to be very successful because he’s seen improvements from the first Usyk fight and the second.
“Eventually he’s going to come away with a big win and it’s going to shock the world in my opinion.”
Riakporhe was pictured sparring with Joshua on Wednesday in a session he wishes could have been witnessed by fans such was the ferocity at which the pair approached it.
“In the gym he had very good spirits and there’s a different focus, an intense kind of look in his eyes these days,” added Riakporhe. “He seems really, really hungry and it’s astonishing for me to see because of what this man has achieved so far.
“For him to come back into the gym like a week, two weeks after the fight and just ready to go again and accepting another fight which is tough, it shows what type of man he is and what type of cloth he is cut from.
“We sparred some heavy, heavy rounds, I promise you the public would have paid to see this. It was all guns blazing, nobody holding back and very exciting. It was really tough, this guy can hit hard and he’s just in that mould.
“After he finished sparring I was exhausted, he jumped straight back in the ring and started to shadow box. You could just see that intense focus on his body language and his eyes.
“I don’t know about Tyson, Tyson is one of those people that may say a few things for a bit of attention, but we’re going to see if he’s really serious about taking this fight.”
As far as pressure goes, Riakporhe believes it is Fury who has the most riding on the fight having long insisted he would make light work of Joshua while eyeing a potential undisputed clash with Usyk in 2023.
The pair had been due to meet in August 2021 before an arbitration judge ruled that Deontay Wilder was entitled to a third fight against Fury.
“Joshua definitely does not have anything to lose in this fight,” said Riakporhe. “When I saw the fight and the possibility of it being finalised, I was like ‘take it, he should definitely take it’.
“When I saw the announcements I was like ‘yes, that’s exactly what the public want them to do’ because he has absolutely nothing to lose.
“Whereas Fury is the champion, the Gypsy King and he’s trying to uphold this image, this persona and he’s been bantering AJ for a very very long time.
“I imagine if he jumped in the ring and loses against somebody he’s been saying all types of different remarks about for many years, it’s going to be embarrassing to an extent, so he’s definitely got a lot of pressure, way more than AJ.”