Anthony Joshua’s sparring partner ready to launch his own world title quest

Eddie Hearn’s latest heavyweight star has learnt lessons from sparring partner Anthony Joshua he hopes can take him to the top.

Brummie boxer Solomon Dacres has turned his back on a strong amateur career as a member of Team GB to turn professional.

The 27-year-old only had his first amateur fight aged 20 having focused his sporting efforts on rugby with the Worcester Warriors academy.

He initially juggled boxing with semi-professional rugby until the age of 22 when he dedicated himself to life in the ring.

He has spent the last few years as a regular sparring partner for Joshua in Sheffield and was part of his Miami training camp before taking on Andy Ruiz in 2019.

“He’s a champion,” Dacres says when asked what he has learnt from Joshua. "Just how to carry out your day to days and be a champion performing at that level.

“Training with him, he’s strict, he’s dedicated and every little aspect his covered.

“He’s disciplined, he works hard and just those habits you need to have to make it to the highest level, that’s what you pick up from him.

“It’s one of those where he’s fighting for world championships, so the sparring has to be at a quality level.

“I see myself at that level to be helping him, and he’s helping me.

“We’re sparring to better each other, not just to go through the motions. We’re there to really improve each other and get ready for big things.

“Obviously him asking me to go sparring reassures me that it’s a serious job and I’m a serious boxer and fighter.”

Having helped Joshua become world champion, he now hopes for his own path to similar stardom and is aiming for the top.

“World champion, that’s the level I’m setting,” he says.

“If I wasn’t setting myself that then I wouldn’t be doing myself any justice in the game.

“I’ve seen people around me doing it and that’s the level I want to get to.”

Dacres also sparred both Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce ahead of their recent fight.

And he is well aware he could meet some of his sparring partners in competitive action in the future depending how fast his journey progresses.

“When you get to the top level there’s only going to be so many fighters you can fight,” he admits.

“These are guys that, when the time comes, we might have to fight them at some point so you do think that.

“But I’ve just got to focus on my journey, where I am now and not get too caught up in what could happen in the future.

“It’s happened in history, hasn’t it? You look through history, countless champions have had the contenders sparring them for years then they come to fight them.

“It’s just the cycle of boxing really, and if it happens, it happens.”

Dacres is in line to make his debut in 2021 once boxing resumes and has assured fans he will bring a box-office style.

He says: “I like to come forward. I’m an exciting, explosive fighter who’s going to be really good to watch.”

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