• Heavyweight

Joshua wary of Alfredo Avila threat

ESPN staff
February 27, 2014
Anthony Joshua has praised Ricky Burns for his recovery from a broken jaw © Getty Images

Anthony Joshua has vowed to maintain his unbeaten record throughout the rest of 2014, starting with fifth-career victory when he meets Hector Alfredo Avila in on Saturday.

The heavyweight pair fight on the undercard of Ricky Burns's WBO lightweight title defence against the unbeaten Terence Crawford in Glasgow.

Avila is no stranger to English soil, having fought Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena in April last year. Joshua - the Olympic super-heavyweight champion - is wary to Avila's experience and expects him to prove another tough opponent as he continues his transition from amateur to professional.

"It'll be my fifth fight with a durable opponent once again and hopefully I'll get some rounds under my belt," Joshua told Sky Sports. "Obviously the amount of work I've been putting in the gym I want to transfer to the ring on fight night.

I'm hearing so many amazing, crazy things about the Scottish fans and how electrifying the crowd is going to be. I think it's going to replicate just how it was in the Olympics. I'm really looking forward to embracing that and giving it my best.

"I know he's [Avila] been in with some of Britain's domestic heavyweights. I know he is the South American champion and he's ranked and durable. He said he's coming to beat me and to win.

"I never take my foot off the gas so I can see a steady progression. Right now I'm happy with the way things are, but there's a lot more to come."

Joshua maintained that main-draw Burns will relish a home atmosphere at the Scottish Exhibition Centre and praised his fellow Brit for the way he has responded since having his jaw broken by Raymundo Beltran in his last outing. Beltran broke Burns' jaw in the second round, leaving the champion to box a further 10 rounds before the bout was controversially declared a draw.

"I think Ricky's going to do well," Joshua said. "To go the [ten] rounds with a broken jaw and, after his injury, to come back and fight Terence Crawford shows the man's got heart. That's what shows in the ring.

"There's nowhere to hide in that ring and I think Ricky Burns will come out, shine bright and get the job done. Especially with that crowd and atmosphere behind him, it can only boost him to put on a good performance."

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