Back in Anthony Joshua’s Sheffield gym the job is only half done, writes Alex Spink on the Gold Coast.
The world heavyweight champion has his fourth belt, courtesy of Saturday’s points victory over Joseph Parker. Now is the turn of those he trains alongside.
Super heavyweight Frazer Clarke and his England team mates have come to Australia chasing a gold rush – and they make no secret of how AJ has inspired them.
“Not many people can say that day in day out they train wth the heavyweight champion of the world,” said Clarke, Joshua’s sparring partner. “We can and it’s great for us all.
“This is not meant to be cheesy, but winners like to be together. Winners drive on winners. That’s certainly the way it is in our gym. Everyone wants to be the best. Coming second in our gym is unacceptable.
“We push each other on, and that goes from AJ down to the youngest kid on the squad. Competition is always high.”
Joshua’s coach confirms that his man has benefited from the shared arrangement as much as the wannabes.
“Everybody here still thinks he’s part of the GB team,” said Rob McCracken. “ He still thinks he’s part of the GB team!”
England won five of the 13 gold medals in Glasgow four years ago and fired up by Joshua’s example, Clarke reckons they are about to surpass that.
“It’s going to take a really good team to stop us,” he said. “We’re the best team out here. I’m not just saying this, it’s fact. A bag of medals is coming back to our gym.”
This is fighting talk, not least because England have picked an inexperienced team of eight men and four women, of whom only only heavyweight Chev Clarke – who represented Jamaica in Glasgow – and welterweight Pat McCormack competed at the last Games.
“Nothing less than the gold will be acceptable to me out here,” said Clarke, who fought both Joshua and Parker when they were amateurs.
“We’ve had a real good bunch of super-heavyweights over the last few years. From Audley Harrison to AJ, David Price and big Joe Joyce. All Olympic medalists.
“I want to add myself to that list and the Commonwealth Games is a good stepping stone on the way to achieving that.
“AJ has told me to come out here and handle business as he knows I can. I fully intend to do that.”