• Heavyweight

Injured Joshua pulls out of Johnson fight

ESPN staff
January 12, 2015
Anthony Joshua's fight with American Kevin Johnson will no longer take place © Getty Images

Anthony Joshua has postponed his fight with Kevin Johnson after the Olympic champion aggravated a back injury.

Joshua, who won super heavyweight gold at London 2012, has knocked out all 10 of his opponents so far on the professional circuit. Former world title contender Johnson was expected to be Joshua's first real test in their scheduled meeting at the O2 Arena on January 31.

But Joshua has suffered a Pars Stress Fracture - which is usually on one side, instead of the centre, of the lower back and is caused by overuse that worsens with most forms of exercise.

The 25-year-old subsequently required immediate medical attention and physiotherapy, and has now been ordered to rest.

His next scheduled fight was against an as-yet unnamed opponent at Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on April 4 - a date he hopes to make.

"I trained so hard over Christmas and the press conference with Johnson was so lively that I was really looking forward to putting in a great performance," Joshua told Press Association Sport.

"It's bad news for myself and for the fans that have bought tickets. I hope to be able to put on a fan zone at the weigh-in and the fight itself to meet the fans.

"I will be competing many times this year but this injury is something that I need to get sorted as soon as possible."

Joshua had laughed off Johnson's proposed bet at their press conference, with the American suggesting the loser donate half their purse to charity in the event of a knockout.

The show in London will still go ahead, with Kevin Mitchell likely to top the bill when he takes on Daniel Estrada in a final eliminator for a world title.

Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn added: "It's disappointing to lose Anthony from this great card but after receiving news from the scan, he was left with no option but to rest his back.

"He picked up a niggle in the [Michael] Sprott camp and had a good month's rest after but it hasn't been 100 per cent in camp and the results gave him no option.

"He hopes to resume punching in early February and come back with a bang in Newcastle on April 4."

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