Former unified heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua has urged up-and-coming British heavyweight Matty Harris to keep faith in his ability and to return strongly following his defeat last July to the hardened Ukrainian Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko. 

Harris, a decorated amateur, had quickly taken to the professional game with five successive wins [four by knockout] following his debut in November 2011. 

Promoted by Kalle and Nisse Saueland, hopes were high when Harris took to the ring as part of the Edinburgh undercard to Lee McGregor’s defeat to Erik Robles. 

Despite a strong opening three rounds for Harris, dropping Dovbyshenko in the second, Harris’s conditioning and discipline failed him and the 24-year-old fatigued, toiled and was halted, in no position to continue in the fifth. 

During his professional journey, Harris has shared rounds with the likes of Tyson Fury, Hughie Fury, Joe Joyce and Anthony Joshua. He made changes by switching trainers and linking up with Peter Fury in December. 

Peter, the mastermind of nephew Tyson Fury’s victory against long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko, invited Harris to the North West to train under him.

Before Harris’s return next week, Joshua spoke to Wasserman Boxing and urged Harris to stay the course and maintain consistency.

Haris meets Amine Boucetta (8-10) over four rounds at the Telford International Centre on March 1.

“I would like to sit down with Matty,” said Joshua. “Only if he needs to, but I would like to reach out to him because advice is sometimes pushed upon people when you don’t know what that person is going through and their approach. 

“I’d like to hear how Matty is coping with things, and would like to align some things which I would advise him with alongside his ethos as well. 

“But things happen, things happen in life, and it will all make sense in the long run. So just stay on course [Harris] and don’t stop now because everything will work out if you stay consistent.”