Matt Skelton says Anthony Joshua is making same mistakes as Audley Harrison

Last Updated: 10/07/14 4:39pm

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Matt Skelton: Has fought for a world title

Matt Skelton: Has fought for a world title

Sky Bet

Matt Skelton believes heavyweight Anthony Joshua is following a similar path to Audley Harrison and plans to inflict his first defeat this weekend.

The Bedford man, a former world title challenger, will battle Joshua on this Saturday's bumper Liverpool bill at the Echo Arena, live on Sky Sports.

Joshua, like Harrison an Olympic gold medallist, has made a promising start to his career, racking up six wins inside the distance.

But Skelton has questioned the quality of his opponents and feels he is making the same mistakes as Harrison, who was defeated by British rival Danny Williams when he stepped up his competition.

“Anthony Joshua has all the natural attributes of a good heavyweight - he's in brilliant shape, but we saw with Audley Harrison in his early days, he went through 18 fights unbeaten against hand-picked opponents and then he came unstuck,” said Skelton.

“I am not going to Liverpool to lay down and take a paycheck, that's not in my make-up and I am not all about money, I am always in the gym ticking over and we really didn't do enough to prepare for the (David) Price fight. I have been training hard and often and I needed a fight.”

Joshua was just 14 years old when Skelton won his first title, beating Julius Francis for the English belt in February 2004, and the 47-year-old has not lost his desire, despite successive defeats to Price and John McDermott.

He lasted the distance against current WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev in 2008, took the European title against Paolo Vidoz in the same year, and hopes to pull off one more memorable win against the 24-year-old.

"Anthony Joshua has all the natural attributes of a good heavyweight - he's in brilliant shape, but we saw with Audley Harrison in his early days, he went through 18 fights unbeaten against hand-picked opponents and then he came unstuck."
Matt Skelton

“I look back at some of my old fights and I think that if I can produce some of the stuff that I did back then, Anthony will have his hands full,” said Skelton

“I am not kidding myself, I always say this about athletes in any sport, a lot of the time it is not the ability or the age that stops you from performing but it's the hunger. When you are young the hunger is there and you feel like you can take on the world and you have a care-free attitude, that takes you a long way.

“I am not going to kid myself, they want him to win and they see it as a fight he will win and build upon, and they think that if he does beat me it is a good name on his record. But I am not here to accept that.

“I just think it is a risky fight for him but heavyweight boxing is a risky business as we all know, one-punch can change everything.”

Bitter rivals Tony Bellew and Nathan Cleverly are also in action, facing Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Alejandro Valori respectively as they edge closer to a rematch at cruiserweight.

Super middleweights Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith will attempt to extend their unbeaten records, while super featherweight Stephen Smith warms up for an expected world title fight later in the year.

Former Team GB trio Luke Campbell, Anthony Ogogo and Gamal Yafai will also be showcasing their ring skills on the undercard. 

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