Anthony Joshua is arguably the biggest name in the boxing world right now, holding the IBF, WBO, WBA heavyweight championships, and earning himself a large list of people who would like to fight him along the way.
For this reason, AJ is often pressed for his opinions on other fights and events in the boxing world, and this week he got the chance to comment on two major upcoming bouts, whilst also managing to find time in a three-minute video to talk about himself and who else but Deontay Wilder, of course.
Sky Sports Boxing caught up with AJ to get his thoughts on upcoming bouts between Oleksandr Usyk v Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora v Dillian Whyte, and also his opinion on potential outcomes for the fights and what lie’s in waiting for his own next fight on April 13.
First up was the champions thoughts on Bellew v Usyk.
Tony Bellew has had an incredible run stepping up to heavyweight to beat David Haye twice, and even challenging Tyson Fury to a bout, but has now dropped back down to his natural division of cruiserweight, something AJ makes note of very early on in the video.
In Oleksandr Usyk, the Bomber faces potentially his toughest ever opponent, with the Ukrainian being the undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world.
“I rate Bellew highly, I rate all British boxers highly and they’re all stepping up to the plate,” explained AJ when asked about the upcoming fights.
“It’s [Bellew v Usyk] a fight that’s credible, and I respect Bellew, because after that David Haye fight it was a question whether he was going to retire or was he going to carry on?"
Joshua also pointed to the fact that Bellew could have gone a totally different way in terms of his next opponent, surely in direct reference to Bellew’s challenge to Tyson Fury, but Joshua lauded the the Scouser’s decision to go and fight the very best cruiserweight in the world.
“He’s got to lose weight, put himself through a gruelling training regime and bring them titles back home. Good look to Bellew we are rooting for you,” Joshua proudly said.
AJ carried on discussing the Usyk/Bellew fight, titling the Ukrainian fighter as the perfect boxer, despite describing Bellew’s left hook as dirty.
“Usyk is like a perfect boxer, so I hope Bellew is working on his counter punching as well, because that’s the way to knock him out.
“Usyk is the favourite, straight talking, because he’s the champion, he’s done it at cruiserweight and he’s undisputed.
“Bellew does have it in his locker though. The time of the fight may have a big impact being here in the UK. That’s what I love about British boxing at the minute, all the fights are here in the UK,” explained a proud Anthony Joshua.
Talk then moved onto the Whyte/Chisora showdown on December 22 at the O2 Arena in London, in the highly-anticipated rematch from their eye-catching bout in 2016, in which Whyte narrowly won on a split decision.
The fight between two British heavyweight sensations Whyte and Chisora is a mouth-watering affair, with both men having shown real resilience to get to the top of the heavyweight mountain. With neither man wanting to lose this crucial fight, it is sure to be a British classic.
Defeat for either man leaves them in the boxing wilderness, whilst victory sends them further up the mountain with potential encounters against AJ himself, Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury to aim for.
Whyte has picked up four wins since his points win over Chisora, notably against former WBO world champion Joseph Parker in July.
Derek Chisora, 34, ensured he remained among the division's elite with a stunning knockout win over Carlos Takam, earning praise from AJ himself via Twitter that very night.
“The second one could be better! They’re more experienced, every training camp us fighters are improving. Good look to them, I’m not out again until next year, April 13 you know we’re ready,” a confident Joshua said.
The 29-year-old Hertfordshire-born champion then cut short talking about Whyte/Chisora by bringing Deontay Wilder’s name into the equation.
When discussing his next fight on April 13, AJ said he was ready for Whyte/Chisora, but trailed off to take a shot at Wilder and his promotional team's efforts to secure a dream unification bout between the two.
“You know we’re ready Wilder, we’re ready, just be realistic on those negotiations because that’s your issue not mine but this ain’t about me this about Chisora/Whyte,” AJ pronounced, smiling before once again making it about him.
“I’m looking forward to that fight, I will be there as I say, it’s a blessing to be able to take myself out of training to go and watch these guys perform and see it from a different point of view.
“So if I’m a betting man I want Chisora to win because he’s my guy from North-West London, I respect him. Dillian, I want him to win because I want to box him on April 13 if Wilder doesn’t step up.”
Whilst remaining very much on the fence with most matters of the two-fights, at least Joshua got the opportunity to throw an insult towards Wilder, because it wouldn’t be a Joshua press-release without mentioning Wilder, would it?
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