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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Alex Pattle

Anthony Joshua admits he is ‘out of title race’ as he plans next step

PA Wire

Anthony Joshua has admitted he is ‘out of the championship title race’ as he plans his next step in the heavyweight division.

“AJ” last fought in August, suffering a second straight decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk while failing to regain the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles.

Joshua was then offered a shot at the WBC belt by Tyson Fury, but the Britons could not come to an agreement over what would have been the biggest heavyweight fight of this generation. Fury instead boxed Derek Chisora for a third time, beating his compatriot via TKO to stay undefeated.

Joshua, 33, has meanwhile been linked with a potential rematch against Dillian Whyte, whom AJ lost to as an amateur but knocked out in a 2015 professional contest.

“I like to see my name constantly mentioned among other fighters,” Joshua told The Sun this week. “The opportunities are always there for me, there are big opportunities to fight.

“I’ll fight whoever’s ready; I’m ready and we’ll get cracking in the new year. I want to be consistent, be fit to fight, and everything comes off the back of that.

“I’m dying for the world championship, 100 per cent. That’s all my heart and soul is leading towards, [but] I lost a fight this year which took me out of the championship title race.

“When you’re constantly fighting for championships after championships, you’re constantly in the race for a long time. When I lost, I was finally out of the race, and overcoming that was a new beginning [...] realising that this isn’t my norm anymore. It’s challenging to overcome that.

“I’ve always been a competitor, a challenge to me is just another obstacle that I can get over, and for some, I feel like it’s easier to knock them down and keep them down.”

Joshua’s defeat by Usyk in August was his second straight loss to the unbeaten Ukrainian, who outpointed the Briton in September 2021 to win the unified heavyweight titles.

Joshua’s only prior professional loss came in 2019, when he suffered a surprise TKO defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr. Joshua avenged that result by outpointing the Mexican-American at the end of that year to regain the titles he had lost to Ruiz Jr – the same belts he later lost to Usyk.

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