Joshua proves big box office hit

Anthony Joshua pictured with trainer Tony Sims after a workout at Newham's TKO gym

Anthony Joshua pictured with trainer Tony Sims after a workout at Newham's TKO gym - Credit: Archant

Heavyweight’s ticket sales shock promoters

Fifty years ago it was Billy Walker, 20 years later Frank Bruno came along, now in 2015 it’s Anthony Joshua proving that the big boys still mean big business at the box office.

From his very first pro fight, West Ham hero Walker could sell out Wembley Arena, then in the 1980s Bruno became the best known face in British sport, now Joshua is clearly our latest heavyweight hero.

Ticket sales for his Commonwealth title clash with Scot Gary Cornish at the O2 on Saturday have shocked even the promoters – with around 13,000 sold a week before the fight.

“I did not expect tickets to sell so fast,” said Joshua’s trainer, east Londoner Tony Sims. “It is down to Anthony’s popularity with the fans.”

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Those fans realised the six foot six inch giant was every inch a real prospect as he struck gold at Newham’s ExCel Arena in 2012, winning the Olympic super-heavyweight title.

Joshua’s 13 pro fights since have produced 13 wins inside three rounds, his rivals crumbling as he turned on the power.

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Cornish is also unbeaten after 21 fights, but bookies are offering 16/1 if you think he can win on Saturday night.

An eye-catching supporting fight on Eddie Hearn’s bill sees another unbeaten heavyweight in Dillian Whyte take on American Brian Minto over 10 rounds.

Providing both win on Saturday, Joshua versus Whyte looks set for December with the latter insisting he will repeat the win he scored in their early amateur days.

Lucien Reid, a former ABA Elite champion at West Ham BC, is pleased to return to the O2 where he won on his pro debut in May.

“It’s great to appear on another big show, it should be another great night at the O2,” said Reid who is trained by Peter Sims, brother of Tony.

Two other Tony Sims-trained prospects on the undercard are the unbeaten Ohara Davies and Ted Cheeseman, who is making his pro debut.

Newham-based Tommy Martin, unbeaten in 12 fights, faces Michael Devine on the show which also includes Dave Ryan v John Wayne Hibbert, Ricky Boylan v Cassius Connor and Charlie Edwards v Louis Norman.

n Jose Lopes has his nickname ‘The Look’ emblazoned across his shorts, but he was wearing a look of disappointment despite his fourth straight win at York Hall on Saturday.

The Stratford cruiserweight showed his frustation inside and outside of the ring after his clash with Latvian Reinis Porozovs turned into a scrambling six-rounder.

“He just did not want to fight, he was holding all the time,” groaned Lopes, who had clearly hoped to reward his fan following with an explosive contest.

In the ring he had clearly shown his disgust, mouthing at Porozovs, but it was Lopes who was warned by the referee and later his trainer and ex-pro Don Charles, who said: “You don’t show your frustration to your opponent – he wants to make you look bad.”

When he could shake off his clinging rival Lopes landed enough clean shots to floor the Latvian and was a clear points winner despite suffering a small cut under his eye.

“It was not my best performance, but I got the job done,” said the winner who looks forward to moving up the ratings with better displays against opponents who come to fight.

The Goodwin promotion also provided a points win for Newham trained welterweight Robert Asagba who scored a third pro win outpointing Gillingham southpaw Mick Mills.

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