Less than a week until Deontay Wilder defends his WBC title against Tyson Fury at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, heavyweight rival and unified champion Anthony Joshua has explained why he ‘needs’ the American to walk away from the arena with the strap wrapped tightly around his waist.
Wilder is the odds-on favourite to beat Fury on 1 December and will be looking to then unify the division in a super-fight against Joshua on 13 April, but Fury, who has had every belt at heavyweight except the one he fights for next weekend, has other ideas and will be looking to put himself at the top of Joshua’s wishlist come next year.
Joshua has completed two successful title defences in 2018, beating New Zealander Joseph Parker in his first ever full 12-round fight before returning to his brutal style of boxing with a seventh-round knockout of Alexander Povetkin. Despite Wilder’s claim that whoever wins between he and Fury would become the ‘best fighter’ in the heavyweight division, Joshua believes that his potential bout against the American ‘has to happen’.
“I need Wilder to win, it gives me more of an opportunity to fight him,” Joshua said.
“As a champion, if he retains his belt, that’s the fight people have been yearning for, so hopefully 2019 is going to be a big year for me. I think this fight will happen. It has to for the love of the sport, especially where we are at in our careers.”
Joshua will not be in LA to watch the Fury-Wilder fight due to work commitments with a sponsor but revealed that should his fight against Wilder happen, it would be a two-fight deal, with the first happening in the UK.
“The Wilder fight has to happen. We’re both champions, fans are demanding it. It’ll be a double-sided fight. For me, the first one will take place in London at Wembley.”
Should Joshua secure a two-fight deal to fight Wilder and manage to overcome his rival in both fights, the 29-year-old is hoping to secure contests against Oleksandr Usyk – who beat Tony Bellew in devastating fashion to retain his undisputed cruiserweight crown, followed by fights against Fury and local rival Dillian Whyte.
“If I was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, I would want to fight Usyk because he is the undisputed cruiserweight champion.
“It would be a legacy fight, then Fury, then Dillian.”
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