Joshua frustrated with Pulev withdrawal
Anthony Joshua took aim at Kubrat Pulev after the Bulgarian pulled out of next weekend's world heavyweight title fight in Cardiff.
WBA, IBO and IBF champion Joshua will take on Frenchman Carlos Takam (35-3-1) at the Principality Stadium after Pulev withdrew due to a pectoral injury.
The reduced prestige involved in taking on journeyman Takam in his first fight since an epochal 11th-round knockout of Wladimir Klitschko has clearly irked Joshua, who was said to be "p****d off" about Pulev's withdrawal.
And the champion outlined the numerous times he has fought through the pain barrier to emphasis his point.
"I had glandular fever against Dominic Breazeale in June 2016, my shoulder in this camp," said Joshua.
"Fighters go through a lot. Two weeks before the Klitschko fight I went for a Thai massage and she stretched me. She pulled my arm down my leg and it cramped my back.
"I swear, I was walking doubled over. Two weeks before. But we crack on. I fought Michael Sprott with a fractured back, just crack on.
"You build up so much to this one moment and because of a niggle you're going to let it go. I don't think, touch wood, unless it was serious, serious, I don't think I'd stop."
Joshua had sought a rematch with Dillian Whyte, who he beat in seven thrilling rounds in December 2015, or Klitschko, but Takam is a mandatory opponent.
"I wanted him [Whyte] to replace Pulev in Cardiff,' says Joshua. "But Eddie [Hearn, promoter] told me I had to go down one place in the IBF rankings to Takam to fulfil my mandatory defence. Otherwise I may have texted Vitali Klitschko to ask his brother if he could be ready in 12 days to fight me again.
"I thought Wladimir might still have been obsessed enough about me to come back for a second fight. I was disappointed when he retired.
"Either would have done. I reckon there should be four or five memorable fights in my career. Against Dillian and Wlad we've had two. Loved it. Why not do it again?"