Anthony Joshua


Anthony Joshua could head straight into a showdown with Deontay Wilder if he fails to return to the ring in early 2023, says promoter Eddie Hearn.

The Brit has been forced to plot a route back to the top of the heavyweight division after he was beaten by Oleksandr Usyk for a second time back in August.

After losing his unified titles to Usyk last year, Joshua came up short in his attempt to reclaim them when they met again in Saudi Arabia, despite a much-improved display the second time around.

Many questioned whether he would retire on the back of two devastating defeats, yet AJ has no plans to throw in the towel and is instead on a redemption mission.

He was first thrown an unlikely bone by Tyson Fury in September, only for negotiations with the Gypsy King’s team to eventually hit a snag, and now talk has turned to a potential meeting with Wilder in 2023.

In an interview with DAZN, Hearn even claimed that Joshua could go straight into that mega-fight if he doesn’t take a tune-up bout early next year, as the American’s promoters have now entered talks over a potential deal.

Hearn said,‘I actually sent Shelly Finkel [Wilder’s promoter] an email back in August to talk about a deal and he actually replied to me yesterday.

‘I invited them out here to Abu Dhabi this week, they can’t come, but I see the Deontay Wilder fight probably being the second fight for Anthony Joshua in all honesty, but he’s up for fighting anyone.

‘If he waits, he may go straight into that fight, it all depends on when he returns, if he returns early in the year, he’ll fight someone else first and if not he’ll go straight into the [Dillian] Whyte or Wilder fight.’

Joshua and Wilder have been on a collision course for some time, with talks between their respective teams breaking down when they both held world titles in 2018.

Anthony Joshua has hit out at rival Tyson Fury after his bizarre X-rated rant at a YouTuber on social media.

In a viral interview, the Gypsy King swore multiple times and insulted social media star True Geordie – real name Brian Davis – after he questioned Fury’s trilogy fight against Derek Chisora.

In response, Joshua told SPORTbible that boxers needed to behave better to set an example to young people.

“Listen, there’s one thing being the champion of the ring and there’s another being the champion of the people outside of the ring,” he said.

“We need to conduct ourselves in better fashion because there’s youngsters that are watching us.

“I’m not the judge who can say what’s right or wrong, we just have to try and conduct ourselves in better fashion when we can, when we’re in front of the camera. When we can, just try. Try, try, try, that’s for the up-and-coming fighters.’

In response to Davis asking whether boxing fans would want to see a third bout against Chisora, a man he has already beaten comfortably in 2011 and 2014, Fury reacted furiously.

The WBC world heavyweight title holder said, “I think you’re a t****r. You little t***pot. And I won’t be doing any more interviews with you little t***pot, bearded, bald-headed t****r. Kiss my b**ls, you little w**ker. You little sh**house.”

After laughing his way through the abuse, Davis asked Fury if he was having trouble ending the video call, prompting the heavyweight to reply: “Suck a d**k.”

Undefeated Fury (33-0-1) faces 38-year-old veteran Chisora (33-12) at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on December 3.

COBRA BYE Anthony Joshua was permanently ‘scarred’ by Andy Ruiz and could soon say ‘goodbye’ to boxing, says Carl Froch

ANTHONY JOSHUA’S spectacular defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr left him permanently “scarred” – so much so he could soon walk away from the sport, Carl Froch has claimed.

AJ was battered by short-notice foe Ruiz Jr in his ill-fated American debut in June 2019, suffering four knockdowns on his way to a seventh-round TKO defeat.

Joshua, 33, exacted his revenge in their rematch six months later and scored a brutal knockout of Kubrat Pulev before suffering back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

The former two-time unified heavyweight champion has been accused of showing a lack of killer instinct since that fateful night at Madison Square Garden, which British boxing great Froch believes has a had lasting effect.

The Cobra told William Hill: “When you’ve made it and you’re world champion and you’re pretty much financially secure, you start to almost question being a boxer.

“I think that’s Anthony Joshua ’s problem now. He got beat up by Andy Ruiz Jr and that’s mentally scarred him – he knows he can get hurt, he knows he can get stopped.”

Joshua’s route back to world title contention is a long one following his second consecutive decision defeat to Usyk in August.

And Froch wouldn’t be surprised if the Olympic gold medallist calls it a day in the near future.

He said: “AJ’s got to be worth £100million, minimum. If you’ve got what you want out of life and you’ve achieved it, why are you going to go back into the ring and get your head punched in?

“Why would you? It’s a dangerous sport. You have to weigh up whether the risk is worth the reward.

“‘What am I fighting for? Some more money that I don’t need and that I’ll never spend? What’s the risk?’ It could be goodbye.”

Froch had the same conversation with himself after his knockout of George Groves at Wembley in the summer of 2014.

He said: “I just think when you get to a certain level in boxing and you’ve made your money, and your legacy is secure, like me when I boxed at Wembley and chinned Groves, I had nothing else left to do.

“You’re at the top of that mountain and all you can do is go down over the other side.”

Joshua dismissed the notion of retirement after his Saudi showdown with Usyk and is set to return to the ring early next year.

And promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed AJ is leaning towards a trilogy fight with Dillian Whyte for his comeback bout.

He told The DAZN Boxing Show: “In terms of names, talking to [Joshua] the other day, he wants to fight Dillian Whyte, really.

“Dillian Whyte fights on November 26 against [Jermaine] Franklin, who is talking a tremendous game, and we’ll see how that plays out.

“I think Dillian Whyte is the frontrunner [for Joshua] if he comes through.

“Otto Wallin is a guy that has reached out numerous times.

“That’s a good fight for him as well. Then there’s the [Deontay] Wilder situation.

“I’m not saying that’s going to be the fight for January or February, but it’s definitely a fight that he’s looking at.

“The feeling for AJ is the value of – and by the way, none of them are easy fights – a tune-up is sometimes they’re as dangerous as each other.

“I don’t think he wants to start dropping out of the top 15 and top 10 of the governing bodies and just looking for an easy touch. I think he wants a real fight, and those are all real fights that you could see.”

Former Super-Middleweight World Champion, Carl Froch, believes that the risks of boxing now outweigh the reward for Anthony Joshua.

‘The Cobra’ will go down as one of Britain’s best fighters, his world title glory matched by two grudge matches against George Groves that captured a size of audience that was, back then, rare in the sport.

He stands alongside Anthony Joshua as a fighter who brought huge events to boxing fans in the UK. Having said that, Joshua has reached a testing time in his fight career. With two losses to now-champion Oleksandr Usyk, as well as a devastating defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr New York, the heavyweight from Watford is facing his first real ‘comeback’ period. Many fans see a difference in ‘AJ’ – and Froch agrees.

The fighter-turned-pundit compares ‘AJ’s campaign in the sport to his own, admitting that at one stage he had a ‘taste for the celebrity lifestyle.’ Drawing on that famous Marvellous Marvin Hagler quote – it’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pyjamas – Froch suggested to William Hill that Joshua may be struggling to find motivation in the dangerous sport.

“When you’ve made it, and you’re world champ, and you’re pretty much financially secure – you’re kind of thinking ‘I’m still a boxer.’ I think that’s Anthony Joshua’s problem now. And he got beat up by [Andy Ruiz Jr] so that’s mentally scarred him – he knows he can get hurt he knows he can get stopped. But also, he’s [got to be] worth 100 million, minimum. And when you’ve got what you want out of life and you’ve achieved, why are you going to go back in the ring and get your head punched in? Why would you?”

It’s a dangerous sport. It’s not football, it’s not a bad game [and] it’s five-nil. Or tennis, three sets to love. It’s stretcher, hospital, hopefully you’ll come round. That’s the real dark side of boxing. So you have to weigh up the risk versus the reward. What am I fighting for? Some more money that I don’t need and will never spend. What’s the risk? Well, I could die … I don’t want it to take a dark twist, by the way, but that’s the implications of a bad boxing match.”

It’s an interesting take from ‘The Cobra’, however one that Joshua and his team will disagree with. He has, after all, just fought one of the world’s best twice in a row – and his emotional reaction to defeat in the ring certainly didn’t paint the picture of a fighter who’s lost the will to do it.

Derek Chisora: ‘Anthony Joshua is living in Tyson Fury’s head rent-free’
“The fighters always want to fight, just fight, but the complications come from the business.” Derek Chisora defends Anthony Joshua after Tyson Fury rules out ever boxing AJ; With Fury-Joshua negotiations having broken down, Chisora has stepped in to box the WBC champion himself

The impact of Tyson Fury failing to secure a clash with Anthony Joshua continues to reverberate through the sport.

While Derek Chisora is now fighting Fury in December, he believes the WBC heavyweight champion is focusing too much on his other British rival.

After announcing his showdown with Chisora at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium on Thursday, Fury ruled out ever boxing Joshua and even brandished the £10,000 he won in cash from promoter Frank Warren for betting that AJ would not sign a contract for their mooted contest.

“AJ is living in Tyson’s head rent-free,” Chisora said. “Tyson wakes up every day thinking about AJ and cannot do an interview without mentioning AJ.

“AJ is off living his life, doing his own thing. I don’t know why Tyson keeps talking about AJ.”

Expectations had been raised that a long-awaited collision between Fury and Joshua could have been made this December. When those talks broke down, Chisora stepped in to challenge the WBC champion instead.

But Chisora believes it’s unfair to blame Joshua for those negotiations with Fury stalling.

“AJ could not take the fight because there were so many complications with sponsors and promoters,” Chisora explained.

“The fighters always want to fight, just fight, but the complications come from the business people around them who get in the way.”

Chisora has fought Fury twice before but this will be his first world title fight since boxing Vitali Klitschko in 2012.

He was convinced that when he beat Kubrat Pulev in July, he had put himself back in the frame for a major bout.

“I knew the fight was happening straight after I beat Pulev,” Chisora declared.

However, putting together this event with Fury was far from straightforward, he insisted.

“The managers and promoters get in the way, they make it difficult,” Chisora said.

“Even this fight and contract was a headache stressing me out.

“People always think making a big fight is easy but it’s always such a headache.”

It highlights a major issue in boxing, particularly prevalent in the men’s sport. Too often fans and fighters are talking about the best fights, without getting to actually see them.

With Fury looking back on a bout that never was, and looking ahead to a possible undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk next year, Chisora at least will hope that he will be able to take advantage of any potential distraction.

Anthony Joshua’s ‘psychological damage’ caused by Wladimir Klitschko despite huge win

Anthony Joshua has endured a very difficult few years and former European champion Spencer Oliver believes his downward spiral may have began with his huge victory against Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko began the spiral of events that dented Anthony Joshua’s confidence, according to Spencer Oliver.

The Brit recorded one of his greatest ever boxing victories when he knocked out the imperious Ukrainian in the 11th round of their enthralling bout at Wembley Stadium in 2017. As well as adding the WBA World Heavyweight Championship to his IBF crown, Joshua cemented himself as one of the top heavyweights in the world.

However, the Ukrainian did manage to inflict a huge blow on the Olympic Gold medallist by knocking him down in the sixth round. But while Joshua did go on to beat Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, and Alexander Povetkin in his next three fights, before getting knocked out by Andy Ruiz in 2019, Oliver believes the first seeds of doubt were planted by Klitschko.

“It’s the psychological damage that has been done,” Oliver said to TalkSPORT. “Some fighters, when they’ve had that knocked out of them, he’s been knocked out now, that Ruiz knockout was a bad one.

“But I think the damage started to be done from the Klitschko knockdown.” When told that Klitschko did not knock him out in the same way Ruiz did, Oliver quickly countered: “it was a slow, systematic beating really, if I’m honest.”

“The referee was looking at him and the referee said, ‘walk forward’. I’ve seen fighters walk forward, that are like they are on rubber legs. The ref is going ‘are you alright’ and they are going ‘yeah’ and I’m looking at them going ‘no he ain’t alright’. But with the Joshua situation, he lent back on the ropes, the referee went ‘walk forward’ and he didn’t want anymore.”

Joshua is currently recovering from his second consecutive defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, who has overcome the Brit by a unanimous decision and a split decision in their last two fights. With his ‘Battle of Britain’ clash with Tyson Fury now dead in the water, the likes of Dillian Whyte and Chris Arreola have been touted as AJ’s next potential opponents. And Oliver believes Joshua needs to channel his more ruthless and ferocious side of his game, which saw him register 21 knockouts in his first 22 fights.

“I don’t know if he can rediscover that,” Spencer added. “Even though in his own head – this is how a fighter would going in – he’ll be ‘right I’m going to go in there, I’m going to be a wrecking machine, I’m going to go, now I know what I’ve got to do’.

“But when the bell goes, the psychological damage [comes in] and you can see they don’t want to commit. Because he’s been knocked out and hurt a few times, from the opponents’ side, he’s not invincible.”

Chris Arreola claims a fight with Anthony Joshua is in the works and tells him ‘don’t be a b****’ following collapse in negotiations with Tyson Fury

Fans were hoping for Anthony Joshua to fight Tyson Fury, but instead it seems he could be taking on… Chris Arreola.

Joshua had been in negotiations to fight Fury on December 3, but as is too often the case in boxing, this fight never came to fruition.

Despite this, Joshua has still said that he wants to get out before the end of the year and according to Arreola himself, he is a potential opponent.

Speaking to ESNews, Arreola revealed, “That’s [Joshua fight] one of the things that’s been in the works. I’ll take that fight, I love it.”

“Joshua, don’t be a b****! Let’s make this motherf***** happen bro.”

“I’m a fighter, I love fighting, so let’s f****** fight. Let’s make it happen. Here, there, wherever you want to make it.”

From a fans perspective, this would be a huge step down from a clash with Fury but, in fairness, following two gruelling back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk, perhaps Joshua is due an easier fight to help him bounce back.

Arreola is also coming off the back to two defeats, both unanimous decision losses against Adam Kownacki, and Joshua’s former foe, Andy Ruiz Jr.

With that being said, Arreola is not the only option for Joshua, as Dillian Whyte has put himself forward to take on ‘AJ’ in a rematch of their 2015 clash when ‘The Bodysnatcher’ was knocked out in the seventh round.

“If the Fury fight doesn’t get made with him and Joshua, me and Joshua can fight in December if he wants,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“He’s training for it, he’s ready for it, he’s willing to take Fury on so if that fight doesn’t get made I’ll step up and take the fight with Joshua.”

There have also been those calling for a long-awaited fight between Joshua and Deontay Wilder, who returned to the ring last weekend with a huge KO victory over Robert Helenius, although it is likely that a clash with either Whyte or ‘The Bronze Bomber’ won’t take place until next year.