Boxing: Former Olympians confident Team GB's Anthony Joshua can secure gold at London 2012

 

Former Olympians Audley Harrison and David Price are confident Anthony Joshua can secure his reputation as Great Britain's next super-heavyweight star by sealing gold at London 2012.

Joshua is one of five Team GB boxers to be guaranteed a medal after reaching the semi-finals of the Olympic boxing competition - a far cry from when Amir Khan was the solitary British representative in securing lightweight silver at Athens 2004.

Beijing bronze medallist Price is undefeated in 13 contests since entering the paid ranks and defends his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in October against Harrison - winner of gold at Sydney 2000 before embarking upon a fragmented and largely disappointing professional career.

Speaking to promote the bout in Liverpool yesterday, both men found time to throw their weight behind 22-year-old Joshua, who meets Kazakhstan's Ivan Dychko next.

"I rate him a lot," Harrison told Press Association Sport. "He's young and hasn't got a lot of experience, but what he has is tremendous ability and I'm really looking forward to him going all the way.

"He has a great chance of winning the gold. He's got to go out there and earn it - they're not going to give it to him - but he has a great chance. The world's at his feet.

"I'm going down there for the semis and the finals and I'm really looking forward to seeing our boxers perform."

Price captained Great Britain's Olympic party four years ago and the 29-year-old believes medals for James DeGale, Tony Jefferies and himself laid the foundations for a potential gold rush honed under performance director Rob McCracken at the squad's English Institute of Sport base in Sheffield.

"It's come on a lot, but don't forget we had eight qualifiers for the 2008 Beijing Olympics," he told Press Association Sport.

"We raised the bar, we set the standard and I think the team we had was as talented as any. We won three medals out in China, which was a fantastic achievement.

"They've raised the bar again by winning the medals we've won at home. They do a fantastic job up in Sheffield.

"I predicted three gold medals before and I stand by that prediction. To have three gold medallists would be fantastic for the sport."

Nicola Adams takes on China's three-time world champion Ren Cancan in her bid for flyweight gold today, while bantamweight Luke Campbell, welterweight Fred Evans and middleweight Anthony Ogogo are in last-four action tomorrow alongside Joshua, who has impressed his immediate predecessor.

"I think Joshua's got his name on the medal - he's destined to win that medal the way things have gone with him," Price added, with Joshua's narrow round-of-16 triumph over skilful Cuban Erislandy Savon in mind.

"He's a great talent. To be an Olympian in its own right is a fantastic achievement, so to get a medal and potentially win the gold after such a short period of being a boxer, he is, without doubt, a massive talent."

PA

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