Joshua is one of the favourites to strike super-heavyweight gold having last year claimed silver at the world amateur championships. And away from the ring, the 6ft 6ins power-puncher from Finchley could be as popular as Britain’s best-loved heavyweight hero Frank Bruno.
Joshua has been personally replying to good-luck messages in the countdown to the Games and will be cheered on by millions when he battles Cuban hope Erislandy Savon in tonight’s opening bout.
Richie Woodhall, BBC TV’s boxing expert and a former Olympian, says Joshua has to forget the fans if he wants to win gold.
For the last three years, Woodhall, the former WBC world super-middleweight champion, has been part of the Great Britain squad’s coaching set up and said: “Anthony is great to have around.
“He is always smiling and will have a laugh and joke with anyone.
“He’s ferocious inside the ring, but a real gentleman outside. He always has time for people and can be a massive star like Frank Bruno.
“But he has to forget about how famous he can be.
“He has to stay focused on winning that gold and he has the tools to do it.
“’Josh’ is a good mid to long-range boxer and when he finds his rhythm he’s very hard to beat. He’s got power and sticks to the game plan. He doesn’t get involved when he doesn’t need to.
“He’s been handed a tough draw. The Olympics means everything to the Cubans. Savon looks beatable, but he will raise his game for the Olympics.
“Boxing is the Cubans’ No 1 sport and Savon is their No 1 super heavyweight. He is coming here to win gold.”
Joshua, who has already turned down a £50,000 fee to turn professional, has had a whirlwind rise.
Woodhall said: “Anthony has only been on the Podium squad for just over a year. Robert McCracken brought him into the Podium squad just over a year ago and he has really taken to it.
“The training doesn’t suit every boxer. You’re away from home and it’s full-time training. But Anthony loves every minute of it.
“He’s like a sponge. He retains every bit of information you give him. You couldn’t ask for a better pupil.
“He has come on in leaps and bounds.
“It was considered a risk when he went to the world championships last year, but he was unlucky not to win the gold.
“If the fight had been anywhere else, he probably would have got the gold, but it’s hard to beat an Azerbaijan boxer on points when the President of Azerbaijan and his army are at ringside !”