Coming to America is a big deal for Anthony Joshua. It is precisely because he knows that if he can make it here, he makes it everywhere.
“I need a big night on Saturday,” he said ahead of his world heavyweight title fight against Andy Ruiz Junior at Madison Square Garden.
“I want to make a statement, which I should do.
“I’ve got to prove myself in America, because they won’t come out and accept you just like that.
“When it comes to boxing, if you want to be respected out here, you’ve got to be the real deal.”
As a student as well as an undefeated practitioner of his knockout game, Joshua is alert to the history.
Mindful of Louis and Marciano, Ali and Frazier, Tyson and Holyfield and not least Lennox Lewis – but especially the Americans.
“They’ve had the greatest champions,” he said. “I know it’s going to be hard to make my stamp, but it’s what I need to do. For my legacy.
“Everyone says you have to put your mark down in America. It’s taken a while for me to get over, and we’ve had problems about getting an opponent.
“But this is the time for me to make a start here.”
Joshua knows the New Yorkers will be judging him against the explosive impact made in this city last Saturday by his rival heavyweight champion.
America’s own Deontay Wilder unleashed his power to add his 40th knockout to his 42-bout unbeaten record by flattening Dominic Breazeale in the first round.
But Joshua countered: “Ruiz doesn’t look muscled, but his appearance is deceptive. He has very fast hands and packs a punch.
“I must take care not to slip up or the super-fight against Wilder will disappear.”