Joshua: Anthony Joshua issues warning to Charles Martin

Sky Sports

Anthony Joshua has warned Charles Martin that he will be stepping into the ‘lion’s den’ on Saturday night.

The American will make the first defence of his IBF heavyweight title in Joshua’s favourite hunting ground of The O2, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

On past trips to the London venue, Joshua has produced explosive victories for his legion of fans, and the unbeaten 26-year-old is expecting Martin to receive a hostile reception at the sold-out 18,000 seat arena.

“He has come over to the lion’s den,” said Joshua. “UK boxing is alive. They like you, they get behind you 100 per cent.

“He’s going to have to deal with that, going to have to deal with the heat. There will be thousands of people on Saturday night.

“They have got their song, it takes one person to start singing. No matter how big or strong you are, even [Mike] Tyson said he was scared as hell walking to the ring in his little documentary.

“Everyone feels the pressure, so he will definitely feel a different pressure with that negative energy being chanted down on him.”

Joshua says his growing popularity will reach new heights if he adds the IBF title to his 2012 Olympic gold medal, joining Tyson Fury as a British world heavyweight champion.

But Joshua refuses to hold Fury in high regard, describing him as a ‘clown’ rather than a role model for the nation.

“I can only be compared to the other guys out there really,” he said. “Tyson Fury is a clown, David Haye is alright, [David] Price is a role model, but where Fury is at the top – I can only be compared to him.

“It’s not a role or a character, I’m just who I am, and when you compare me to people in my industry – they need to calm down a little bit.”

But Joshua must firstly overcome Martin before any talk of a future fight with Fury and the challenger admits the fight on Saturday could be swift and brutal.

“He wants me out of there quick,” said Joshua. “The longer he’s in there, the harder the fight. He will probably want me out of there ASAP.

“He might come to me, because he will want me out of there quick. He don’t want to be in there long with someone that can knock him out, has got the same power. It’s a dangerous place to be for 12 rounds.”

Charles Martin vs Anthony Joshua is live on Sky Sports Box Office on April 9. Order the event online now.