'It's all I know' – Joshua rejects retirement talk if he fails to reclaim world titles

By Sports Desk August 18, 2022

Anthony Joshua insists he will not be driven into retirement if he fails to defeat Oleksandr Usyk in his world heavyweight title rematch this Saturday.

Joshua, 32, suffered only the second defeat of his 26-fight professional career when he met Usyk for the first time last September, going down in a convincing unanimous decision to the talented Ukrainian.

While it was considered an upset, Usyk dominated the Brit in a masterclass to claim the IBF, WBA and WBO belts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Usyk has built a 19-0 professional record, including a perfect 7-0 in cruiserweight world title fights before deciding to move up to heavyweight.

Joshua has shown his ability to respond to adversity before when he successfully reclaimed his belts from Andy Ruiz Jr after the Mexican had pulled off a stunning stoppage victory six months prior, with that rematch also taking place in Saudi Arabia.

The Englishman has dismissed suggestions he may have to quit if he fails to dethrone Usyk this weekend.

"It’s up to me at the end of the day, it’s not up to anyone else what I do with my career," he said. "I don’t have to do this. Why do I do it? It’s because it’s all I know.

"This is also my 12th consecutive world title fight. I’ve been in world title fights back-to-back 12 times. 

"It happens – if you’re fighting people at world level, you’re meeting people of world-level quality. I’m not fighting people who are below par."

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  • Joshua in talks for Wallin bout Joshua in talks for Wallin bout

    Anthony Joshua's camp are in discussions regarding a bout against Otto Wallin, the Swedish fighter's promoter has said.

    Joshua seen his stock in the heavyweight division take a significant dip following back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk, leaving the Brit with only two wins from his past five bouts.

    However, Joshua continues to be linked with top-tier opponents, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder among them, but taking on Wallin is set to be his next challenge.

    Dmitriy Salita, who represents Wallin, believes the correct approach would be for Joshua to face his client, with the winner then going on to face either Fury - who is expected to meet in Usyk in an undisputed fight.

    "I had discussions with Eddie [Hearn] about Otto for a significant amount of time and as late as last week," he told the Sun.

    "From what I understand it's really up to AJ. I believe he wants to place himself back in the heavyweight picture.

    "Both Otto and AJ want a shot at Fury. By the numbers Otto landed more punches on Fury then anyone else ever.

    "I believe the winner of that fight will have legitimate claim to challenge Fury probably after his fight with Oleksandr Usyk."

    A bout with Dillian Whyte has been touted as the next test for Joshua but that proposal has been slammed by Salita.

    Salita.would instead prefer the Brit to face a rematch with Jermaine Franklin after a majority decision for Whyte at Wembley last month.

    "Whyte is 1-2 and in reality 1-3 in his last four fights. A fight with Joshua would be something like Roy Jones vs Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor, big names but not much behind it at this point," he added.

    "Even if it's not against Jermaine, Whyte needs an impressive showing against someone credible to show that he still got the skills to pay the bills at an elite heavyweight level.

    "He had four wins after that including Dominic Breazeale and Travis Kauffman, both credible at time of his victory. Otto is number three in the WBO and is a bona fide top heavyweight in the world.

    "There have been lots of big names thrown around with Joshua including Tyson and Wilder. How serious that is will depend on who he fights next."

  • Fury-Usyk unification bout 'the perfect time', says WBC president Sulaiman Fury-Usyk unification bout 'the perfect time', says WBC president Sulaiman

    A unification bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk would come at the "perfect time" for the sport if terms are agreed soon, says WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

    The Briton downed Derek Chisora in the pair's trilogy bout on Saturday to maintain both the WBC title and his undefeated record.

    Fury squared off with Usyk, who saw off Anthony Joshua for a second time earlier this year to retain his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts, after his victory.

    Previous hopes for a unification bout over the years have often been hindered by the contradictory mandatory challengers various governing bodies have in place, but Sulaiman is keen to see the pair cross paths imminently.

    "This is a perfect time to do a unification," he told Sky Sports News on Monday. "At this time we have no mandatory contenders, so this is a perfect moment for the unification.

    "Hopefully it will not get to that point [that we have another mandatory challenger] and the four organisations will accept to sanction the ultimate undisputed fight.

    "Mandatories are a complicated process. Each organisation has their own rules, their own agendas, but the importance of this fight is far beyond any organisation.

    "We're supporting it, and we'll do everything possible to make sure it takes place."

    Fury has indicated he could fight fellow Briton Joe Joyce next, and though Sulaiman acknowledges he would not prevent such a bout, his priority remains setting a match up with Usyk.

    Joyce has put together a series of impressive performances to move himself to the verge of title contention, and Sulaiman would not stand in the way of an all-British matchup with Fury.

    "No [issue with a Joyce fight]. At this time, as I mentioned, we don't have the mandatory contender yet," he added. "As soon as we have one, we can set timelines. Our ultimate goal is to have a unification."

  • 'You're next' - Fury calls out Usyk and Joyce after seeing off Chisora 'You're next' - Fury calls out Usyk and Joyce after seeing off Chisora

    Tyson Fury took the opportunity to call out Oleksandr Usyk after his TKO victory against Derek Chisora at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    Victory came in front of the Ukrainian at ringside, who holds the other three heavyweight belts, and it is widely expected that a unification fight is next on the agenda.

    There has not been a unified heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis at the turn of the millennium and such a bout has evaded Fury in recent years, having seen an agreement to fight Anthony Joshua fall away after the pandemic.

    Fury has made it abundantly clear on the next step he wants to take in his career, going face-to-face with Usyk in front of the cameras.

    "Where's Oleksandr Usyk, the rabbit? You're next, you little b****, you're getting it," he said in the ring.

    "15 stone little midget beat a bodybuilder [referring to Anthony Joshua], but I'm not a bodybuilder. I've already beaten one Ukrainian in [Wladimir] Klitschko. Let's get it on. I will end you. What you going to do? You're going to do f*** all.

    "I can't wait. All these big fights have been evaded for so long, but they can't run away anymore. They can run but they can't hide."

    Fury and Usyk were also joined in the ring by Joe Joyce, with the Gypsy King taking the opportunity to call out his compatriot as a future opponent.

    "Why don't us three do a Royal Rumble?" Fury asked. "Big Joe Joyce is here, he's a warrior. Everyone else is scared of you, so if [Usyk] doesn't want it, let's me and you do Wembley.

    "I want Oleksandr Usyk next. If not you, Joe Joyce. I've got some hand problems, I've got to maybe have some surgery on my elbow, but after that, I'm open to anyone.

    "I had the left done after the [Deontay] Wilder fight, it will take about six to eight weeks to heal. We'll see when we can be ready, we will see when it can be made."

    Speaking earlier in the night ahead of the Fury-Chisora fight, Usyk dubbed the potential bout between him and Fury as one that is clamoured for across the globe.

    "The whole of Great Britain, the whole world, especially Ukraine, everyone wants to see this fight happen," he told Sky Sports.

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