Joshua pledges to fight heavyweight rival Fury after dealing with Usyk

By Sports Desk June 21, 2021

Anthony Joshua remains convinced his heavyweight blockbuster with Tyson Fury will still happen despite the pair's undisputed showdown collapsing earlier this year.

Joshua, the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, was set to take on Fury in August in Saudi Arabia before a court arbitration in the United States ruled the WBC king must face Deontay Wilder for a third time.

Fury v Wilder III will take place in Las Vegas on July 24, with Joshua now set to face former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

As high-quality as those two encounters promise to be, it still amounts to a less-than-ideal situation in terms of the fight boxing's glamour division demands.

Joshua reiterated his belief that the collapse of the bout remains the responsibility of Fury's handlers and pledged to make the bout happen.

"Unfortunately, his team let the whole boxing world down," he told Sky Sports. "I will still be here, still ready to put on a show.

"[The Fury fight can happen at the] end of the year. Let me get past Usyk first. But with or without Usyk in my life, I will fight Fury.

"Usyk isn't the be-all and end-all.

"Usyk doesn't determine the Fury fight. The Fury fight has to happen. It's a big fight, bigger than boxing, bigger than the belts.

"It will happen. After the Usyk fight, after I defend my belts.

"The fight will be bigger, better than what it would have been."

Fury pledged Joshua would be one of several leading heavyweights in line for "the biggest beatdown they have had in their lives" after he faces Wilder, who he believes "would knock Joshua out in the first round".

Joshua added: "I am 100 per cent sure that I will fight him and win. You've got to ask him the same question. I'm not too sure [what he would say].

"We did everything. During a global pandemic, the toughest time to organise a fight like that, we managed to have 20,000 fans available, a site fee, the media ready, my name was on the contract, I was in training.

"Then boom, they cancelled. I stay ready to fight them all because I'm a throwback fighter."

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    Anthony Joshua says he would consider stepping aside from his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to allow the Ukrainian to fight Tyson Fury.

    Joshua is set to fight Usyk for a second time in early 2022 after losing to the 34-year-old, who claimed the WBA, WBO and IBF belts on a unanimous points decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

    WBC Champion Tyson Fury, after defeating Deontay Wilder in the final bout of a gruelling trilogy, is waiting on a decision whether a title fight will be ordered with Dillian Whyte, who wants to be sanctioned as the mandatory challenger.

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    For the first time a Fury-Usyk bout seems a possibility, with Joshua conceding he would consider skipping the sequel temporarily for both respect in boxing and financial gain.

    "I think people know not to approach me with that rubbish," Joshua told IFL TV when asked if he had been offered a deal to skip the rematch. "That is bulls***. It may have come to my team, but they know not to bring that to me.

    "Let me be real, it's not about the money, it's about the respect. What I want out of this game, number one is respect. You don't have to like me, but you will respect me. 

    "Second thing is to go down as a throwback fighter, somebody who was willing to fight the best in their division so people know me as a true fighter.

    "In terms of [stepping] aside, I don't know if that goes in line with what I morally stand for. But let me be real, I want to be known as one of the smartest businessmen as well.

    "I used to watch Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, we all know the stories of NFL players, basketball players, they make bad decisions. I wanted to make sure I make the smart moves when it comes to this business. If the money is right, you have to look at it.

    "You have to look at it. But respect to me has a lot more value than money. Respect first, what I'm known for when I leave this division, then being the smartest businessman in my career. 

    "That step aside thing, it may not go with what I stand for in terms of bringing me respect, fighting the best, but it may make sense for business."

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    "I can't believe how good I boxed," he added, although for Lopez the disbelief centred around the result.

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    "I won tonight; I don't care what anybody says, I won tonight. At the end of the day, I've been here, I've done that, I want to thank God, I want to thank everybody that came out tonight.

    "Look, I ain't no sore loser, I take my wins like I take my losses. At the end of the day, man, I'm a true champion, I did what I had to do, and I went out there and did my best.

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