Anthony Joshua has re-iterated his desire to finally face Deontay Wilder, once the American is “man enough and mature enough”.
It was hoped the pair would meet in a massive world heavyweight title unification match in 2019. But the mega deal collapsed with both camps claiming the other didn’t want to fight. DAZN had reportedly offered Wilder a whopping $100million.
Recently ‘The Bronze Bomber’ (42-1-1) appeared to admit that he was offered the Joshua fight but chose instead to fight a rematch with Tyson Fury. That left AJ (23-1) feeling vindicated, though there is still unfinished business.
Joshua on his past with Wilder
Speaking to ‘Off The Cuff’ on DAZN, he said: “Yes, for sure, he’s another challenger in my division, in my era. One that we made last year a lucrative offer, one he turned down. But the offer still stands when he’s ready.
“I’m not going anywhere anytime soon so when he’s ready and he’s man enough, mature enough to also not lie, be real.”
Joshua, currently preparing to defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Kubrat Pulev on Saturday, looked back to that time when he was accused of ducking Wilder. It was not something he enjoyed at all.
“It wasn’t a nice time when they were trying to tarnish my name and my reputation, but I dealt with it. So this time around It would just be good to get the real stuff done and stop all the PR stunts and get a real fight under way for the fans. That’s what I want to do.
“Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, they like formed an alliance to make it seem as if I didn’t want to compete. Wilder in the long run has now revealed himself that I made him a lucrative offer, I was interested in fighting him. And he turned it down to fight Tyson Fury.
I’m never gonna make that mistake again. I was really like trying to prove to the world that: ‘Oh trust me, I’m serious, you gotta believe me, I’ve made an offer’. But now I just focus on what’s in front of me, Kubrat Pulev, and that’s all that matters.”
AJ ready for anything, and anyone
While a showdown with Fury is obviously at the top of Joshua’s hit list right now, the likes of Joe Joyce, Oleksandr Usyk and Dillian Whyte are also desperate to get in with the man from Watford. He says he is ready for all-comers, and will avoid nobody.
“Usyk, all of them, you can throw all of them in there. It doesn’t matter. They’re all welcome. I could go through the list but this isn’t their show, this is my show, so I’m not gonna promo all of them them.
“What have I got to lose? I’ve got everything to gain, providing that they’re keen and serious and it’s not a PR stunt. If any of them are keen to fight, then it will happen for sure.
“If you look at stats and facts, from fight number 16, three years as a professional I went straight to championship level because that’s what I felt I wanted to test myself. I continuously do that now. There’s no way in the world that I ever wanna ever dodge any tough fights.”
While many fights are sold by promotional hyperbole, Joshua is not a fan of glitz and glamour. He is a fan instead simply of getting the job done as fast as he can.
“I’d rather get in, rob the bank and leave. I’m not there to sit around and speak to security and get caught up in all the hype. I just wanna get in and get out, that’s my mindset with this boxing thing. Get in, fight the best and get out and leave it to the rest.”
Joshua on his biggest opponent – himself
There are opponents aplenty lining up to take a shot at Joshua’s belts, but he says none of them compare to the opponent he looks at in the mirror every morning.
He admitted: “I’m my most dangerous opponent because that’s the man that I have to beat, I have to overcome in the morning. I’ve got to beat that tiredness, I’ve got to beat the mistakes I’m making in the ring. It’s hard. We’re in a job where every day I go into the ring, I can’t just go into work and do enough and it’s like ‘yeah, that’s enough for today’.
“I always have to overcome what I’ve done yesterday. It’s hard work always trying to improve, so I’m my biggest opponent, I’m not worried about anyone else except for myself. I think that’s what go me to this point today, just focusing on myself. The times when I haven’t focused on myself, is the times when it goes wrong.”