Anthony Joshua: ‘Boxing today is about who talks the most but I’ll take any fight’

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B

oxing has a propensity to pine for better times. For Anthony Joshua, it was when there was less talking and more fighting.

“I was wondering about legacy and where boxing was years ago – in the Fifties and stuff – and the difference is a lot of those guys actually fought each other,” he said.

“That’s what made them great. In this day and age, it’s who speaks the most and who generates the most interest through speaking. It’s a different era of boxing. Speaking is just as important as boxing these days.”

The barb is partly aimed at the man he should have been fighting before the year’s end rather than the opponent on the other side of the ring at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night.

Talks may yet resume over the double-header between Joshua and Tyson Fury, who faces Deontay Wilder for a third time on October 9, should they win their respective fights.

Joshua talks unconvincingly about his encounter against Oleksandr Usyk being as big as the Fury fight and yet it will be bigger than the UK has experienced for a long time with some 60,000 fans in attendance.

Usyk is no slouch in the ring. Like his opponent, he is an Olympic champion from London 2012 although lacks the heavyweight experience of his opponent – this is only his third fight since stepping up from dominating globally at cruiserweight.

Joshua has prepared by shipping in a cavalcade of southpaw sparring talent from around the globe as well as slimming down, leading some to suggest such a streamlined approach could be to his detriment, particularly with the bigger men like Fury still looming. But he shakes off any negative connotations to his fight night plans.

“Physical advantage is one thing but it doesn’t make the world’s tallest man into the heavyweight champion of the world,” he said. “In boxing, you have to beat the confidence out of your opponent. This is heavyweight boxing and I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. I don’t play games, I’m here to win.”

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