CURTIS WOODHOUSE: Joshua is the real deal and Toon fans are to blame for turmoil

Heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua demolished Gary Cornish on Saturday in no time at all, just as I expected he would.

Friday, 18th September 2015, 12:55 pm
The gloves are off ... with Curtis Woodhouse

People were asking me last week how I thought the fight would go and I said that I would be shocked if it made it into the second round, and this turned out to be the case.

I firmly believe Joshua is the real deal. I think he is going to go on to dominate the division for a long time to come.

Critics say he hasn’t fought anybody of any note yet, which is true, but it’s the way he takes his opponents apart which impresses me.

Anthony Joshua

He is devastating and actually reminds me a little bit of Mike Tyson in his early days.

As good as he was, people forget that Iron Mike fought a few Mexican road sweepers with no ability at the beginning of his career.

It’s all part and parcel of building a career. You have to ease these guys in and let them gain experience and develop their skills in the professional game.

Joshua will tackle Dillian Whyte next, but after that it’s quite hard to say where he should go in terms of choosing the best fight to continue his development.

Steve McLaren

Whyte will be very aggressive and let his hands go, which will be a good test for Joshua, but Whyte’s defence will be way too open and I’d expect another win in quick time.

After that, Joshua still needs four or five more fights to get some more experience, and I reckon that American Tony Thompson, who beat David Price twice, would be a good a match.

Going back to Saturday’s fight, Cornish may have come into the fight with a 21-0 record, but this meant nothing. I learnt during my time as a professional fighter that records are for DJs.

Although Cornish was unbeaten going in to his bout with Joshua, he’s barely fought anyone with a heartbeat.

Records can be very misleading - and there are more dead bodies on the Highlander’s record than you’ll find in a Nightmare on Elm Street.

It’s just the business side of the game, boxers who sell lots of tickets will be matched lightly to protect that unbeaten record so that they keep making money for their promoters.

Gary Cornish is a prime example of this. He’s a commodity because he’s Scottish and there aren’t many fighters to get excited about up there, especially heavyweights. Thus, he attracts a big following in his home country, sells tickets and makes money.

That is why his career has been managed to make sure he stays unbeaten.

That’s just the way the industry works, but I think that there is a downside.

If I was starting out now, I am 100 per cent certain that I could surpass Floyd Mayweather’s record and go 50 fights unbeaten by choosing my fights.

The problem is that this may tell you I was the greatest fighter ever, even though in terms of ability I wouldn’t have been. That is why you can’t read too much into a boxer’s record.


I tuned in to watch West Ham take on Newcastle in this week’s installment of Monday Night Football and saw a really poor Toon side lose the game and slip to the bottom of the Premier League.

The Magpies have spent a lot of money on new players in the close season but for me they look like one of about six teams who could end up getting relegated in May.

Dutch midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum seems a decent acquisition, but apart from that I’ve not seen much that gets me excited.

You just have to look at their defence, it is so poor and I always think that if you’re looking to build a solid team then you need to start from the back.

I’m not sure that you can pin to much blame on Steve McClaren, it’s easy to say it’s all down to the the manager or the coach but you could put Jose Mourinho in charge at St James’ Park and even he would have a job on his hands.

I think that it is necessary to delve a little deeper though if you’re looking for a reason as to why Newcastle are struggling.

Their problems stem from years back, and basically I think they are as a result of the high expectations of their fans.

Yes, they have a great fan base and can attract 52,000 people to home games, and they’ve had some good sides in the past – albeit some years ago now.

The thing is, the large home gates seem to make these supporters think they are a bigger club than they actually are and that if they aren’t challenging for the top four every year then they need to sack their manager.

The Geordies never seem to he happy, they always need someone to blame, it’s been Mike Ashley up until recently.

Previously it was Alan Pardew – the fans hounded him out and now look at the job he’s doing at Crystal Palace and what a good side he’s made them.

Expectations are just too high and that is why the club never makes any progress because the fans get restless and want rid of their manager if they’re not near the top of the league.

For me, Newcastle are a bit of a laughing stock and I can’t see things improving for them any time soon.


Kayleigh Jones: Of all the football grounds that you played at during your career, which had the best atmosphere?

I was born in 1980, so as a kid I supported Liverpool, simply because they were the best side around at the time.

So when I played there with Birmingham City it was an incredible experience.

That game is the only time - apart from my debut as a professional footballer - that hairs have stood up on the back of my neck.

We lost the game 3-0, but when the crowd started singing You’ll Never Walk Alone it was amazing.Playing at Anfield was on a different level to anywhere else.

Ronald Dove: Did you have any pre-match rituals or superstitions?

No, I think stuff like that is usually for people who are mentally weak. It used to annoy me when lads would be doing seven or eight different things before they’d leave the changing room. I’d be saying, ‘come on! Any chance we can get on with this game we’re meant to be playing?’.

The best pre-match ritual I came across had to be Paul McGrath’s when he came to Sheffield United at the end of his career.

He didn’t train all week and would just turn up on a Saturday for matches.

All the players had to be there for 1.30pm sharp, but he’d just arrive about 2.30, sit in a bath until five to three, then go out on to the pitch without even warming up.

Without fail he’d be the best player on the pitch as well. He was ridiculously good, even when he was heading into his late thirties.