Anthony Joshua admitted on Friday that he “plateaued” after becoming world heavyweight champion as the British boxer aims to get his career back on track against Jermaine Franklin on Saturday in London.
Retirement talk has followed the former Olympic champion since consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk, the last of which came in August.
The fight with Franklin at the O2 Arena will be Joshua’s first without a world title on the line since 2015.
But he believes he has found another level after basing himself in Dallas over the winter with new trainer Derrick James to help him return to his best.
“I got to a certain level but I plateaued there and I now realise that if I want to achieve again, I’ve got to go to another level,” said Joshua after weighing in at a career-high 18st 3lbs (116 kg) on Friday.
“I’ve just found out that what I thought was good enough, wasn’t and sacrifice is not a bad thing because throughout this struggle I’ve had to take myself through I’ve actually found potentially better than what I had before.”
Joshua’s sacrifice has stretched to even staying away from his family, including his seven-year-old son, since arriving back in the UK two weeks ago.
“I haven’t seen them yet. I feel, no matter how much training you’ve done in camp, you could potentially let your opponent catch up by slipping in the last week or so,” Joshua added.
“I’ve kept it disciplined up until now and I will until fight night.
“Being further away has been better, being home is harder.”