Antonio Tarver admits ambitious plans to fight Anthony Joshua

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Anthony Joshua has become one of the most sought after boxers on the planet, having made a rapid rise to the top end of the heavyweight division, since beginning his professional career in 2013, with an unblemished and ruthless record of 17 fights, 17 wins and 17 knockouts.

However, while the likes of Tyson Fury, David Haye, Wladimir Klitschko and Dillian Whyte are just some of the names hoping to fight the world champion, but one fighter who boxing fans would not have thought would have put his name forward is Antonio Tarver.

The American, who turns 48 in November, has admitted that he hopes to use Whyte, who recently made his return from shoulder surgery, as a stepping stone, in order to make a fight with Joshua possible in the near future.


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Tarver, a former light-heavyweight world champion, famously defeated Roy Jones Jr in 2003, to dethrone his fellow American as the king of the light-heavyweight division - handing Jones Jr just his second professional defeat in 51 bouts - and currently holds a record of 31-6-1-KO22.

But with his days in the ring numbered, the 47-year-old has vowed to bow out of the sport at the highest level, with his eyes set on one final world title, before, finally, hanging up his gloves.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Tarver said: "I heard his interview. I have a lot of respect for Dillian Whyte. He found a great fight against Anthony Joshua, who's sitting on the top of the division and obviously Dillian feels confident in himself and his ability. I think the fight makes sense for me.

"I'll come over to the UK and let everybody know that I'm serious business about what I say and what I plan on accomplishing in the next year, and that's to become the oldest man to win the heavyweight world championship.

"If I did that, I'd surpass the great George Foreman. If I won the title today, I'd surpass George by two years and that's why I get up in the morning.

Shut Whyte down

"I want to come to the UK, shut Dillian Whyte down and get one step closer to Anthony Joshua."

Tarver has fought just twice since 2013, winning once by knockout and a split decision result against Steve Cunningham in August last year.

Five-time world champion Antonio Tarver

Questions will certainly be raised about whether the Florida-born fighter would be sufficiently equipped to fight the heavyweight division's rapidly growing star.

However, Tarver believes age is having no baring on his capabilities to get in the ring with the best.

"It's the craziest thing. I'm getting old and I can't deny it but for some reason I'm not ageing. I still have my speed, timing, eyes and reflexes intact." said Tarver.

Final chapter

"I need a rebirth and a new beginning. I'm trying to write the final chapter of my illustrious career and there's no better place to do that than the UK right now."

Boxing at O2 Arena

Tarver had recently called out Whyte, while the Brit responded by vowing to "smash him to pieces". But as that fight hangs in the balance, a bout with Joshua seems, largely, over optimistic, for the Floridian.

The IBF World heavyweight champion is seemingly in line for a second title defence against New Zealand fighter Joseph Parker, later this year, while Matchroom chairman Barry Hearn believes Joshua should face Bermane Stiverne, after knocking out Dominic Breazeale last month.

But a Joshua-Tarver fight would most likely bring the Watford fighter under huge scrutiny and criticism, although, it would aid the Brit's ambition to build a larger American fanbase, having signed a multi-fight deal with American broadcaster Showtime, back in May.

Does Antonio Tarver have any chance of facing Anthony Joshua, before retiring? Have your say in the comment box below.

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Amir Kahn
Manny Pacquiao
Wladamir Klitschko
Light heavyweight
Floyd Mayweather

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