Joshua vs Pulev: Who are Anthony Joshua's sparring partners? David Ghansa, the training camp manager, explains

Anthony Joshua fights Kubrat Pulev on Saturday December 12, live on Sky Sports Box Office; the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles are at stake; AJ plans to face Tyson Fury in 2021 to crown an undisputed champion

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Anthony Joshua: This is why Kubrat Pulev is so dangerous

Anthony Joshua is preparing for his world heavyweight championship defence against Kubrat Pulev by sparring trusted faces, experienced veterans, unbeaten contenders and hungry prospects.

Recruiting sparring partners was a key area of improvement for Joshua and his team ahead of the rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. A year on, this is the pool of heavyweights trading punches with Joshua in the gym...

Martin Bakole

Martin Bakole, David Ghansa and Anthony Joshua
Image: Martin Bakole, David Ghansa and Anthony Joshua

The Congo-born Scotland-based contender shares a management team with Joshua, and they have been regular sparring partners over the years.

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But Bakole makes no secret of his desire to eventually challenge Joshua, who he calls "a best friend".

"AJ would want to fight the best African heavyweight," said Bakole's trainer Billy Nelson. "The only other half-decent African heavyweight is Efe Ajagba, and Martin would knock him out inside four rounds."

Bakole added: "It would be a big show, not only for Africa, but for the whole world. Imagine if Joshua fought in Nigeria or my home in Congo."

Also See:

Bakole fights Sergey Kuzmin on the Joshua vs Pulev undercard.

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'Tyson Fury's list of opponents is laughable compared to AJ's'

Bryant Jennings

The American veteran is a former challenger of Wladimir Klitschko and has shared a ring with Luis Ortiz, Mike Perez, Oscar Rivas and Joe Joyce.

Jennings has been frequently used as a sparring partner by Derek Chisora recently.

"He is such an athlete, he can do whatever we ask him to do," said David Ghansa, Joshua's training camp manager.

"He can fight in any style, he's very fit. He went to Derek Chisora's camp to spar as a southpaw."

Hosea Stewart

Washington, Joshua, Clarke, Stewart, Kadiru and Jennings
Image: Washington, Joshua, Clarke, Stewart, Kadiru and Jennings

An amateur from the Wolverhampton gym where Joby Clayton, who was added to Joshua's team before the Andy Ruiz Jr rematch, is the trainer. This is the first time Stewart has been involved in a Joshua camp.

"It was good for AJ to see somebody that I've been teaching for many years," Clayton told Sky Sports.

"Hosea understands the philosophies, the techniques and the tactics.

"Fair play to AJ who saw and recognised the potential of Hosea. He wanted Hosea to experience what camp life is all about.

"He wanted to give Hosea a taste of what his own life could be about if he is willing to do the work that it takes to be a champion.

"Hosea is working with the other sparring partners to get an incredibly privileged position, to see how a champion is made and forged. To see what it takes."

Gerald Washington

Joshua and Gerald Washington
Image: Joshua and Gerald Washington

"When AJ fought Wladimir Klitschko, Gerald was one of our main targets for sparring," said Ghansa. "We reached out, he seemed on board.

"Then he called back and said, 'Thanks but Klitschko's team have called me too! And I want to have the experience of his camp!'.

"Then I saw him [before the Andy Ruiz Jr] rematch and asked if he would be interested in sparring. But Gerald said, 'I don't want to spar, I want to fight AJ!'.

"He turned us down twice. But, this time, he said yes."

Washington, the former challenger to Deontay Wilder, told Sky Sports earlier this year that his plan was to "hunt down Joshua".

But Washington was then knocked out by 'Prince' Charles Martin.

Delicious Orie

Anthony Joshua and Delicious Orie via @England_Boxing
Image: Anthony Joshua and Delicious Orie via @England_Boxing

The Wolverhampton prospect is a decorated amateur on Team GB who first aided Joshua as a sparring partner last year prior to the Ruiz Jr rematch.

David Adeleye

Joshua and prospect David Adeleye
Image: Joshua and prospect David Adeleye

"I look for different things in sparring partners - he had balance, body positioning, he is youthful," said Ghansa.

"He was here for a week then went to Tyson Fury's training camp which was prearranged."

The 24-year-old prospect Adeleye from London has fought just three times, winning via TKO each time.

Christian Thun

"AJ said to me, 'Get someone taller than me," Ghansa explained.

"Even though Pulev is shorter, AJ wanted a wildcard - someone tall with a good jab.

Christian Thun
Image: Christian Thun has brought his 6ft 8in tall frame into Joshua's camp

"Thun is very experienced. He was in Klitschko's camp before the AJ fight and has been in Fury's camp too."

The German giant is a highly-rated prospect who has won all six of his fights so far.

Frazer Clarke

joshua & clarke
Image: Frazer Clarke has sparred with Joshua for years

One of Joshua's longest-serving and most trusted sparring partners, Clarke is a Commonwealth Games gold medallist who was on the verge of qualifying for the 2020 Olympics until they were postponed.

Clarke told Sky Sports about the two super-heavyweights who represented Team GB at the Olympics before him: "We're very different. You have the fitness machine - Joe Joyce. You have the power athlete - Joshua.

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Joshua tells Tyson Fury: I'm serious about the WBC belt

"But I believe I'm a better boxer than both, more of a natural boxer. I think few people around the game who've seen us box at the same stages would disagree."

Peter Kadiru

Joshua, German champion Peter Kadiru, and David Ghansa
Image: Joshua, German champion Peter Kadiru, and David Ghansa

The former Olympic Youth champion and current German champion was sent over by his manager Bernd Boente, who previously represented Wladimir Klitschko.

Boente told Sky Sports about Kadiru joining Joshua's preparations: "It is our honour. I always recommended Peter if Anthony was to fight Pulev. They are very happy with Peter and I hope it stays that way. But we are professionals - it is most important that Anthony is prepared."

Fabio Wardley

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Fabio Wardley knocked out Richard Lartey inside two rounds with a huge right hand

The unbeaten prospect managed by Joshua's rival Dillian Whyte was the final sparring partner to come into camp.

Wardley has won all 10 of his fights, including a vicious knockout of Richard Lartey last month.

Watch Joshua vs Pulev on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.

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