NORMALLY Anthony Joshua stands before the media to discuss an upcoming fight of his own. But on Thursday (December 21) he planted himself between Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain as co-promoter, with Matchroom, of their February 3 fight at the O2 in London.

Joshua’s management company guides Okolie and Olympic bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi, who will also box on the undercard at the O2.

Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter and now co-promoter, said, “Anthony Joshua to co-promote his first show with us. We’re very, very exited. Of course he represents Lawrence Okolie and Joshua Buatsi as well. I talked to him about this fight. He was buzzing for it. He’s a big boxing fan. He loves grudge matches. This has all the ingredients of Anthony Joshua against Dillian Whyte as well. Remember what a fight that was, back early in his career at the O2. It feels like that all over again.”

“People are starting to understand how difficult these fights are to be made now and again. So I take my hat off to both parties for making this fight happen,” Joshua said. “I’m looking forward to it for sure. ‘British Beef’ as they call it. Isaac being the beef and Lawrence being ‘The Sauce’. I’m looking forward to it for sure. I’ve had my dust ups with other opponents in the past at British level. I believe both of these guys can go on and be champions for sure because everything’s about timing.”

“This fight does take the winner to a whole new level or speeds up their process to get to the next level and that’s what makes this fight interesting,” Joshua added.

“I can’t tell Lawrence or anyone to do anything. Because I think within themselves they know what they have to do already. He’s got a great coach [Brian O’Shaughnessy] in his corner. I speak to him, we speak as men so I’m not here to tell him that ‘this is what you’ve got to do from my experience’ because his path is completely different. But at the same time from a spectator point of view I want that emotion, I want that type of beef that makes for an unbelievable fight.

Anthony Joshua

Joshua Buatsi, Anthony Joshua and Lawrence Okolie

“But at the same time from a boxing purist point of view, you do have to leave that outside the ring. I think it’s a Catch 22 and I do know he has to leave this outside the ring because it’s all about performance and when you do get emotional sometimes it affects your judgement. He knows what he’s doing, his coach knows what they’re doing and it’s just about winning at the end of the day, whether it’s a tough one or an easy one, in the record books all we see is the W and that moves them on to great things in 2018.”