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Joshua wants Usyk trilogy fight

Image: Joshua wants Usyk trilogy fight

By Jake Tiernan: Anthony Joshua says he’d “relish” a third fight with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk to have the opportunity to share the ring with this highly skilled operator.

Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is 0-2 against Usyk, but he came close to beating him with his last trainer Robert Garcia last summer in Saudi Arabia.

AJ now has a new coach in Derrick James, who will work his corner this Saturday in his fight against Jermaine Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Assuming things work out well for Joshua, he wants to battle for a world title against Usyk or WBC champion Fury.

Deontay Wilder and Joe Joyce are also two other fighters on Joshua’s short list of talented heavyweights that he wants to take on.

Those are all easy fights for Joshua to put together compared to trying to negotiate with Fury, who has become increasingly more difficult to deal with as age creeps in and becomes more intractable.

Joshua won’t be pressured to retire

“The pressure has been crazy. Definitely,” said Anthony Joshua to Boxing King Media about him being viewed as the ambassador for boxing. “The pressure to deliver. That’s why I’m always on the hunt to improve. I want to live up to expectations.

“If he was to, I’d give him the respect he deserves. Secondly, I’ll make that decision if I want to fight or not,”  said Joshua when asked if his carer is over if he loses to Franklin on Saturday night.

“I feel like I can make that decision. If I want to continue fighting, I don’t think it’s up to anyone to dictate to me. I don’t think anybody can tell me what to do in my career anyway, so I’m going to make my own decisions.

“It’s Wembley. To sell out a stadium is a massive dream and it shows that boxing is booming. Of course, I would love to sell out a stadium again. But I’m not complaining. I’m here to fight. Whether it’s Wembley or here for now, it is what it is. I’ve got to take what I’ve got in front of me. I’ll definitely choose Wembley over the O2 any day.

“I went searching for various coaches looking for ways to push myself. I didn’t go searching for what was easier. I went searching for like what could push me further and further. I put Derrick James up there for to push me past where I think I can go.

“He’s pushed me further than I ever knew I could push myself. I feel like in the heavyweight division; aesthetics don’t win fights. I think that’s been a clear factor in the years that I’ve been relevant in the heavyweight division.

“In other heavyweights that have been relevant. The way you look doesn’t always determine how you end up fighting, but I hope his mind is in the right place. That’s what’s important,” said Joshua about Jermaine Franklin, who has lost a lot of weight for their fight on Saturday night,” said AJ.

Undisputed is no longer a goal for AJ

“Probably, but honestly, I don’t do too many weights in camp,” said Joshua. “I just do general conditioning. I don’t do too much weights. The way I look is because of hitting the heavy bag and sparring and obviously doing my recovery.

“So I eat good, I sleep good and let my body repair and heal, and when I’m in the boxing gym. I put in a lot of work. All fights are career-defining, but I’m going to be real with you. I can dictate my own future.

“If I want to stop fighting, I’ll stop fighting. If I want to continue, I’ll continue. Win or lose; I can do whatever I want. Not really. I hope he’s alright. That’s all, really,” said Joshua when asked if he had a message for Tyson Fury.

“I don’t have much to say right now. I’m still in fight mode; I’m in camp. I’m just focused on my own stuff. I’m just glad Eddie Hearn doesn’t have the blame for something that doesn’t involve him,” said Joshua about the Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk negotiations collapsing.

“Eddie always gets the blame for everything. I’m just happy that Eddie isn’t getting the blame for something.  It’s tough. Being a champion isn’t easy. Look at Usyk. He ain’t even got a fight date yet, and he’s the world champion. I was the last guy he fought, and I’m fighting on Saturday.

“He’s a champion. He should have been out twice by now. Being a champion should mean that you’re out, you’re active, and you’re fighting, but it’s a headache.

“There’s a pressure to go towards what we perceive as perfect. Nothing is perfect. As their champion, they expect more from me. Someone that fights with that flag on my back, they expect more for me,” said Joshua about his British fans having high expectations from him.

“Yeah, I let many people down, so I deserve the stick I get as well. I always have high expectations from myself, but against Usyk, I was in with a really good operator, and I would definitely relish the opportunity to fight him again.

Undisputed, I’m done with that. Undisputed is a headache. I’ve been chasing that for a long time. That’s a whole headache. I’ll just get my hands on one of the titles.

“Why do people not regard the IBO heavyweight title as a legitimate heavyweight championship belt?” said Joshua.

Money still important to Joshua

“What do people go to work for?” said Joshua when asked to discuss his recent comment about him fighting for money now. “What are you here for? You’re here to make money. To be real, to make money. I’m a prizefighter. That’s the priority. I’m going to be real with you.

“You got to get your coin. That’s why young athletes. That’s why I started this management business to guide young athletes to be independent to protect themselves. One of the main things about boxing, which I was so skeptical about, was making wrong decisions with my business ventures as an athlete.

“I can’t go back and be 23 again and have that youth on my side where I can go back and win all these titles. If I lose it all today, I’m done. A businessman can go back and rebuild again. Lose it all and then come back again.

“As an athlete, you have one opportunity, and that’s why I tell people, ‘100% chase your dreams and pursue your legacy. Without the titles, you’re not going to make your money. So chase your dream, track those titles, but protect your coin.

“You don’t get what you’re worth. You get what you negotiate, so make sure you’re smart at the business table,” said Joshua.

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