World heavyweight champion says he would “100 per cent take the opportunity to fight at the drop of a hat”
Anthony Joshua, who is in lockdown with four family members, says he is so desperate to get back to action that he would “take an $8 million loss to fight behind closed doors”.
Joshua was due to defend his three world title belts against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in July, but this week suggested he and Tyson Fury should consider meeting next to crown an undisputed world champion.
“Economically, I’m taking a big hit like the rest of the world. I would definitely fight for the love of my sport, and I’ve got that hunger in me,” he said.
“One hundred per cent I would fight for $8m less [from no gate receipts]; 100 per cent I would take the opportunity to fight at the drop of a hat.”
Speaking to his United States television partners DAZN, he added: “When you are fighting in front of 80,000 people, whether you like it or not there is a massive impact on your psyche, on your confidence. That urge to perform. I’m performing for the crowd. So yes, it would be difficult to fight without the crowd there to entertain. But a win is a win, and it goes down in history and this is just part of history.
“If Eddie Hearn said he managed to secure the Tyson Fury fight, but it is behind closed doors, I would take it. If I don’t take it now then I don’t think Tyson Fury will be around by the time this all comes around again, when big hall shows are available. I have to take the opportunity while they’re there.
“We have two current heavyweight champions in Great Britain right now. [Deontay] Wilder, it would be good if he stepped aside, [Kubrat] Pulev, it would be good if he stepped aside and we got this fight on as it is one that the world is screaming for.”
Despite feeling the pressure from being in lockdown, Joshua says it could prove beneficial in the long run. “It is such a shame that I am in quarantine right now as it has put a halt to greatness. But this is part of history and I am working towards beating Tyson Fury.
“I am looking at Tyson Fury like I am going to walk through him as well. I had my issue last year [losing to Andy Ruiz], I got through it and I want to correct it. People don’t know what that does for a fighter mentally when he loses in front of the world and what it takes to come back. Having this time to reflect has been a blessing in disguise.”
On life under quarantine, he explained: “I have no gym or swimming pool in my house. I am actually at my family home with my mum, my niece, my son and my cousin, we are all quarantining together so it’s nice. We are all aware there is a pandemic happening across the world, but fortunately none of my family have had any tragic losses or massive effects from the virus. We are trying to take advantage of spending time together.
“Why I chose boxing when I was younger is because it is a sport where you don’t really need much. You need to keep fit – the reason why we do road work is to keep the legs strong in the later rounds. In the UK the guidelines are exercise outside the house but only up to an hour, so sometimes I go running or cycling. I also shadow box in the garden, which is something of a lost art.”