Boxing World Heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua has revealed that he didn't feel like a champion until he crossed paths with the recently-retired boxer, Wladimir Klitschko and defeated him.
Joshua who is set to take on Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, 28th October 2017, stated that he became a true champion because of what he went through with Klitschko.
The 28-year old reiterated that "those type of fights" were what defined a champion because they had "championship status written all over them".
The Briton who knocked off Charles Martin in just two rounds to win the IBF title in his 16th professional fight admitted that he always felt uneasy at being referred to as champion after the bout because even though he trained for the fight against Martin, the fight had always looked easy from the onset. He, however, admitted that after the fight with Klitschko, he now deserved to be called champion.
Joshua in an interview with BBC Sport's Mike Costello said;
"I became a champion because of what I went through with Klitschko. Those type of fights have championship status written all over them".
"Now I do [feel like a champion]. Not in a big-time way. Even though I trained for Charles Martin, the fight looked too easy".
"What we went through with Klitschko represents what a champion is. Rob McCracken has never trained me to take a battering. But in that ring, in a time like that, there is nowhere to hide. It comes down to who you are at that moment".
Joshua's trainer, Rob McCracken, 49, has stated that his fighter [Joshua] now respects professional boxing even more following the Klitschko match, adding that the Watford-born boxer opted for training immediately after the Klitschko fight rather than "take too long off".
"He respects professional boxing even more now. He did before the Klitschko fight but even more now. He knows how tough and dangerous it is at the top level. He has ticked over in between the fights, going for runs or coming in the gym".
"He didn't do that after defending his title against Molina. So he's showed he learned a lesson and showed he is deadly serious about improving, even though he has the heavyweight championship".
Joshua will defend his World Heavyweight titles against Cameroon-born Carlos Takam on Saturday.
The 36-year old [Takam] stepped in to replace injured Bulgarian boxer, Kubrat Pulev less than two weeks before the fight in Cardiff.
Takam who is five inches shorter than Joshua (6ft 6in) has never challenged for a recognized world title in a 39-fight career that has seen him lose only thrice.
Joshua and Takam will perform public workouts at the Cardiff City Center on Wednesday evening with both athletes scheduled to weigh in on Friday lunchtime before their fight on Saturday.