Heavyweight Jared Anderson has worked to “compartmentalize” his date in court to come two days after he is scheduled to fight Ryad Merhy.

Anderson, 24, will take on Merhy on Saturday at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, and then on Monday he is due in court, having been charged with a third-degree felony for fleeing a police officer in Huron Township, Michigan.

Police say that on February 29, Anderson led them on a six-plus-mile car chase, at speeds exceeding 130 mph before being apprehended.

In November, Anderson was arrested in Ohio and charged with improperly handling firearms in a vehicle while knowingly under the influence and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In December, he pleaded no contest to an amended charge of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, and the previous charge was dropped. Anderson was fined $200 and handed a 180-day suspended sentence at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio that was contingent on him not committing a similar offense within a year.

In his previous two bouts, against Charles Martin and Andriy Rudenko, Anderson (16-0, 15 KOs) fought and beat opponents considered to be superior in quality to Friday’s opponent. But the combination of the 31-year-old Belgian Merhy (32-2, 26 KOs) and the upcoming court date arguably represent a bigger test.

“My head coach Darrie Riley has always emphasized that you make sure you leave your problems at the door,” Anderson said.

“‘Whenever you get in that ring, you can’t let it affect you, because as soon as you’re out of the ring the problem’s still going to be there. That’s how I put it away: compartmentalize. You feeling me? That’s how I position it in my brain. I leave my problems at the door. They’re going to be there when I get back.”

Anderson said he has been taking a similar approach for years.

“That’s really how I am, for the most part,” he said. “I try and treat every day like it’s my last, because it could be at any time. I just try to live free and make the best out of every day that I wake up.”

Anderson has received his share of criticism for his lack of discipline and focus out of the ring, and while he’s fully aware of it, he doesn’t pay it much attention.

“It is what it is,” Anderson said. “I don’t agree with it, but I can’t make nobody stop talking. God give them a mouth to talk. It goes in one ear and out the other, to be honest.”

Last year, in an emotional interview, Anderson opened up to Roy Jones Jr. about the pressure he is under to fulfil his undoubted potential. He was asked whether that sense of pressure had changed and whether he had watched the transformation in Anthony Joshua’s performances after the former heavyweight champion had battled with a similar sense of expectation.

“Nothing has changed,” Anderson said. “The only difference is that I’m older. It’s the same thing – everybody wants what they want out of my life, but nobody knows the pressure, nor do they know what it takes to be in my position. And the people with the most to say are the people who have never been there. It is what it is.

“You don’t have no choice. You gotta wake up every day, and if you don’t work, you don’t eat. So I gotta get up and continue to do what I need to do in order to pay my bills.”

As for Joshua specifically, Anderson was practical about the Brit’s psyche – and the possibility of facing him in the future.

“He looks like competition to me, so I’m not too much into following his outside career, other than what he does in the ring.

“I would love to [fight him]. He’s made more than enough money to retire by 2026, so I don’t blame him [if he retires by then, as he has spoken of doing]. But if it’s on the cards, it’s on the cards. I would love to. He’s been very, very active, so if he called my name – trust me, I’ll run it.”