Anthony Joshua: We’re here to go to war. Charles Martin: London will be mine

The final press conference before the heavily hyped IBF heavyweight title clash between Charles Martin and Anthony Joshua took place today and both undefeated men appeared and sounded confident. Joshua had more to say than did a somewhat subdued Martin, but both fighters are sure they will get the win on Saturday night.

Joshua said he is “ready to walk though two to give him five [punches],” and how he will “probably go and try and take his head off.”

Joshua likened the fight to a “war” and said that “we’ve got two generals in there and the best army wins.”

But while Joshua said he is more than willing to war in a slugfest type of fight if that is what Martin wants, he also stated how he will box technically if that is the approach the unbeaten southpaw takes. “If he wants to box, we can box,” the 2012 Olympic gold medallist said. “If he wants to go to deep waters, you know I come to fight. We don’t play games.”

Martin, appearing unfazed by the whole occasion and by his first pro fight in England, said little but seemed to suggest the fight will be more of a technical affair, with his skills being a deciding factor.

“Being physically strong and powerful isn’t the issue,” the IBF champ said. “When I started boxing, the guys [I was fighting] were 250-pounds and big punchers. I was 208 and I knew how to be evasive. I’m technical in there. True boxing analysts and people that know the sport see the small things I do.”

Martin, who previously has been stating how he will “knock Joshua out, period,” is perhaps letting us know he will instead box and move and look to out-point the challenger who has yet to go beyond the 7th-round. And as Joshua has never faced a southpaw before (at pro level) maybe this will be Martin’s best chance when it comes to pulling off the upset (and though Joshua is still the British bookmaker’s favourite, the odds on a Martin win have recently shortened – interesting indeed).

But Martin has never gone the full 12-rounds himself. Martin has gone into the 10th-round once (his Feb. 2015 stoppage win over Raphael Love) and he has gone past the 3rd-round on just five other occasions, and then only as far as the 4th-round. Martin has said how he feels “muscle-bound” Joshua will get tired in the later stages of the fight. Maybe he will, but perhaps Martin will be huffing and puffing by that stage as well.

Fans would love a short and sweet slugfest, with plenty of leather exchanged and a clear, definitive winner at the end. Maybe we will get this type of fight. Or will Martin look to use the skills he says he picked up in his early days?

For what it’s worth, I’m sticking with my earlier prediction: Joshua by KO inside 4-rounds.