Anthony Joshua revealed how a piece of advice from Lennox Lewis helped him storm into the Olympic super-heavyweight final at ExCeL last night and guarantee Great Britain’s boxing team their most successful Games for more than a century.
Not since 1908 have four British boxers gone through to gold medal matches but Joshua followed the earlier lead of Fred Evans and Luke Campbell – and Thursday’s historic triumph by Nicola Adams – to dispatch giant Kazakh Ivan Dychko 13-11.
Joshua said: “I saw Lennox when he came to watch Nicola and he told me to back up with the jab. He started throwing jabs and shadow-boxing, which was great. He gave me some advice and I took it with me into this fight.” Lewis’ hint proved a golden one as it was Joshua’s lightning left hand which made all the difference over three cagey rounds, with the pair locked together through two before the Londoner’s cleaner work in the last saw him home.
Joshua added: “I’m learning in every fight and I just hope I can go out and do this thing on Sunday. I can improve on my defence, my confidence and my self-belief.
Earlier, Evans had completed his irresistible march into the Olympic welterweight final with a superbly composed performance to see off Ukraine’s reigning world champion and world No.1 Taras Shelestyuk.
The Welshman triumphed 11-10 after a compelling contest in which the 21-year-old, who is the first Welsh boxer to win a medal since flyweight Ralph Evans in Munich in 1972, built an early lead and swatted away the Ukrainian’s inevitable late surge. Evans joined Campbell in booking a gold medal showdown after the Hull bantamweight saw off Japan’s Satoshi Shimizu 20-11 to ensure a final against family friend John Joe Nevin of Ireland.
But Anthony Ogogo failed to join Campbell and Evans in the finals when the Lowestoft middleweight was floored twice on his way to a comprehensive 16-9 defeat against Brazilian Esquiva Falcao.