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I’ll be honest, the evening didn’t start off as planned – I wasn’t reserved a place at a table and I felt a bit left in the lurch with regards to what exactly it was that I was supposed to be doing (Our editor`s fault , no one else`s , Damn him with his Man Flu!).

12650712_10208879370330370_1857000035_nThat said, the people on hand who did help, were fantastic at doing so. I was given a seat in the upper levels – where crew and staff roamed. I was treated immensely well, considering they had no idea who I was or what I did before the evening’s proceedings. In fact, I’m glad it happened; seeing first-hand the preparation of the lighting, sound, et al, gave me more than simply sitting downstairs. I was even sneaked a picture with the big guy himself (he’s freakishly huge!). I’m not one for fancy dining, so it’s no surprise that two thirds of the three course meal didn’t really do anything for me. I was never really a huge melon/watermelon/blackberry or cheesecake fan, but the ratatouille was superb. Now that I’ve spent half of the article explaining other things, we’ll get to the main attraction – Anthony Joshua.

He emanates confidence and personifies coolness – but that doesn’t detract from him like most boxers. Joshua has kept his feet on the ground from day one. “I’m a people person,” he says to the crowd, “You can put me anywhere. It’s not about being popular. I’ll chill with anyone”. It’s this sort of attitude, in a sport that’s rife with loud, noisy yobs, all wanting their piece of the pie; that is a breath of fresh air – this is also why his fan base is growing at a frantic rate.

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He’s never forgotten his humble beginnings and he doesn’t get too far ahead of himself. “David Haye & Tyson Fury are fights for the future”, he says, after being asked about them. At the moment, he says he’d “love to fight Charles Martin” as he sees that bout as learning curve and a way to step up his game. Too many boxers nowadays grasp their chance at a big shot as soon as they can – not this guy. His calm, considered response to each question goes with the personality in the ring. Calm, considered and clinical. I have every hope that this boxer will strike it big one day – that day may be sooner than you or I think. The raffle came afterwards, with a pretty naff comedian (who went down like a lead balloon), but with the evening already saved by the brilliant staff at the Whites Hotel and the evening warmed with the presence of Anthony Joshua, it’s one I will I will fondly remember for some time.

Dave Figgins

Chief Sports Reporter Bolton Live

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