ANTHONY JOSHUA is at a stage in his career where he is trying to find the right mix to become a heavyweight champion once again.

The 33-year-old will have his second fight under new trainer Derrick James on August 26 against old rival Dillian Whyte. Eight years ago, Joshua got the better of his old rival in a combustible scrap which ended with a seventh-round stoppage win for ‘AJ’.

Joshua is a few months away from having completed 10 years as a professional fighter which has brought him the British title and multiple belts at world level. The Watford born superstar will take part in his 29th bout when he faces Whyte but last time out Joshua was nowhere near his best when he defeated Jermaine Franklin.

This week the former heavyweight ruler was a guest on the Boxing News podcast – The Opening Bell. The 2012 Olympic Gold medallist spoke about the Franklin fight and gave a blunt assessment of his performance.

“It was shit but I’d been through so much and I was still going through so much in that Franklin fight,” he admitted.

“I knew it wasn’t as good as what it could be not because of any reason it’s just I was going through a lot, and I think I’ve cleared all of that off my conscience.”

For Joshua and trainer Derrick James all that mattered was getting the victory at the end of the night.

“That was the most important thing,” the fighter said.

“Just win. Don’t get hit. My body had taken so much trauma. Even the sparring I was still in that don’t get hit vibe. I’ve taken so much punishment over the years with sparring. My body’s healed now. In the Franklin fight I was sparring more cautiously now it’s like let’s go motherfucker. Let’s fucking go. And digging deep. In that Franklin fight I think we only done three twelve rounders, two twelve rounders. But now we’re doing 12 on Monday, 12 on Wednesday, 12 on the Saturday. Fuck it let’s go. Hopefully it’ll pay off. I’ve got to dig deep but I don’t know where it’ll take me.”

Joshua knows that Deontay Wilder is the dangling carrot should he defeat Whyte once again next month. For so many years the Brit and the American have been continuously linked to fighting one another and once or twice it has looked close to happening. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn appears more confident than ever that they will fight, in the Middle East, later this year or early next.

Boxing News editor Matt Christie asked Joshua if all the Wilder talk is a distraction.

“It always has been,” he answered.

“Do you know what I’m glad as well because people can see now that there are people that create hiccups and hurdles. It’s not just always I don’t wanna fight Wilder. Before it was like people thinking oh AJ’s ducking or he doesn’t want to fight. It’s annoying. It was a big risk then as well, but I would’ve taken the fight.

“If you look at my career you can see that I’ve always wanted to fight whoever really at any point if that be Joseph Parker, Klitschko, Charles Martin, Dillian Whyte for the British. How can I not wanna fight Wilder? We collected all the belts. I never fought one guy for them. I went and fought everyone for them, but it was annoying, yeah, very annoying. Now I’m not really interested in having a conversation about Wilder until it’s real. I’ve done all that previously.”