Boxing - Joshua gets ready for a big year

Olympic gold medalist Anthony Joshua (3-0) is looking forward to fighting as many as ten times in 2014 as he goes in search of his first professional title.

The huge British heavyweight hopeful bypassed four rounders altogether when he kicked off his pro career last October with a first round stoppage of formerly unbeaten Italian Emanuele Leo. Destructive second round TKO’s of Melton Mowbray’s Paul Butlin and Croatian Hrvoje Kisicek followed.

The plan was then for Joshua to fight Welshman Dorian Darch, but a shoulder injury halted his swift progress.

Joshua now takes his appointment with Darch on February 1st at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, on a big night for Welsh boxing which sees former world champion Gavin Rees take on Gary Buckland, and Lee Selby challenge Rendall ‘2Tone’ Munroe for the vacant European featherweight title.

A month later, Joshua travels to Scotland to fight on the undercard of Ricky Burns’ WBO world title defence against American Terence Crawford.

Joshua told Sky Sports News: “It's a major year, getting to gauge my progress from January to December. I’m going to be competing around 8 to 10 times this year.

"We're starting off in Wales on February 1, then coming to Glasgow on March 1, so it' going to be a busy year.

"I've got to put the work in right now. I'm hungry and ambitious - I want to give it my best. I'm ready to take on the challenge.

"I feel great. Sometimes that ambition and hunger can lead me to over-working. I think that's what I did (with the injury). I had a rest over Christmas and now we're into the New Year I'm preparing for my next bout and I feel better than I did last year."