Awesome Joshua claims final boxing gold
Anthony Joshua says he would relish the opportunity to return to defend his Olympic title in 2016
Anthony Joshua brought a tumultuous end to the Olympic boxing tournament with a thrilling countback victory over Roberto Cammarelle, and insisted he would relish the opportunity to return to defend his title in Rio in 2016.
Lucrative professional offers are certain to flood in for the Londoner, who claimed Great Britain's third boxing gold of the Games, but with the gold medal draped proudly around his neck, Joshua insisted he had no intention of following a path trod by generations of Olympic champions and using his triumph to seek to make an immediate impression in the paid ranks.
Joshua said: "It's honestly not going to be hard to resist. To leave something as great as the Great Britain set-up just because of money would be a big mistake. I don't want to lose that because of a bit of money thrown in my face."
He added: "I didn't grow up with loads of money around me anyway, and I'm happy with the way things are. These memories are priceless. I want to go on and win world and European titles and dominate in the amateurs. That's where my head is at the minute."
The Finchley 22-year-old, who was such a late starter in boxing he admitted not even being bothered to watch the action from Beijing on television four years ago, has made extraordinary progress since claiming a world silver medal in Baku last year.
Gradually, Joshua emerged from a tough draw, enjoying a bit of luck in a close first-round encounter with Cuba's Erislandy Savon, to set up the most dramatic Olympic finale imaginable with Cammarelle once again standing in the opposite corner.
Down by a point at the end of the first after walking into a succession of right hands in the Italian's corner, Joshua was struggling to get his shots off and his dream of Olympic gold looked over when Cammarelle extended his lead to three heading into the last.
But a super-human final effort by Joshua, inspired by his favourite film 300 about Spartan warriors - saw him pull back the verdict to an 18-18 tie before the announcement of the countback verdict - lent extra drama by an unsuccessful Italian appeal.
Joshua added: "The moral of the film is to never give up, to never surrender, and it was just like that in the third round. My legs were screaming but I kept throwing punches in there and kept pushing to the final bell."