Boxing: Anthony Joshua in position for all comers

Briton Anthony Joshua reacts after knocking down boxing great Wladimir Klitschko during their heavyweight title fight at Wembley.
Briton Anthony Joshua reacts after knocking down boxing great Wladimir Klitschko during their heavyweight title fight at Wembley.PHOTO: REUTERS

World heavyweight champ wants Fury fight as challenger claims he can win with one arm

LONDON • World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he could take out his rivals in the top division "one by one" following his sensational victory over Wladimir Klitschko.

Joshua, 27, stopped Klitschko in the 11th round of Saturday's Wembley super-fight to add the vacant World Boxing Association and International Boxing Organisation titles to his International Boxing Federation crown.

He has offered Klitschko a rematch and also has his eyes on an all-British clash with Tyson Fury, who has not fought since spectacularly dethroning Klitschko in November 2015.

"If it works out for my career, I'll definitely relish the challenge against Tyson Fury or anyone else for that matter," Joshua wrote in a column for the London Evening Standard newspaper published yesterday.

"Fury has come from the ground up. He's an ordinary guy who has achieved great things. He's back in training and he's getting into shape and that's good for boxing, so I hope that he comes back to his very best.

"The fans want the Fury fight and I do, too."

Fury, 28, has claimed he could beat Joshua "with one arm tied behind my back".

The self-proclaimed "Gypsy King" has relinquished his titles and had his boxing licence revoked after revealing he is battling mental health problems.

On the prospect of fighting Fury, Joshua said "it feels that we're heading in that direction".

"I like to entertain and if that's a fight that will bring entertainment to the sport again, then I would love to be involved," added Joshua, nicknamed "AJ".

"If I have to go through everyone in the division, then great. I am not hearing, 'Let's see Fury v (Deontay) Wilder or Wilder v (Joshua) Parker.' It's always, 'We want AJ versus Wilder, Fury and Parker.'

"So if I have to go through the division to keep it entertaining, then that's what we'll do - take them out one by one."

He said his victory over Klitschko, in which he overcame a sixth-round knockdown, showed he "can knock anyone out".

"As for Wladimir, I've got the ultimate respect for him in and out of the ring and, if we wants a rematch, I'd have no problem fighting him again," he said.

His defeat of Klitschko was heralded as a boxing classic by Barry Hearn, who added that Joshua can be a "flag-bearer" for boxing in the way Tiger Woods was for golf.

"All sports need flag-bearers," said Hearn, the chairman of Matchroom Sport, an agency whose boxing division, headed up by his son Eddie, manages Joshua.

"The Joshua effect is very similar to the Tiger Woods effect in golf, where people who are not so interested suddenly become interested, where young people become (inspired) to follow in someone's footsteps.

"For that they need a role model and Joshua is the finest role model I have seen in sport, period. He's No. 1.

"I've been following fights since I was nine years old and it (Joshua-Klitschko) delivered on all fronts.

"I think it was one of the best heavyweight fights."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2017, with the headline 'Joshua in position for all comers'. Print Edition | Subscribe