Anthony Joshua says he won’t be recognised as the ‘best’ heavyweight until he regains a world title | Boxing News
Anthony Joshua admits he will not be recognised as the “best” heavyweight until he regains a world title and has urged his rivals to stop “waiting” for a fight.
Joshua was critical of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk, the division’s two champions, at the final press conference for his fight with Jermaine Franklin on Saturday, labelling their failure to agree to an undisputed championship contest as “a shambles”.
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Joshua did however admit to his own frustrations from his spell as a two-time world champion between 2016 and 2021.
Asked if he rated himself as the best in the world still, Joshua said: “No, because I’m not the champion. Being champion gives you credibility and status to say you’re the best, so no I’m not the best at the minute.
“It’s out of Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.
“But let’s say this: Usyk hasn’t fought Fury, Fury hasn’t fought me, Usyk hasn’t fought Deontay Wilder.
“What I’m trying to say is we need more competition around that championship level. We need to get busy, so we can start having these conversations, ‘he’s better, no he’s better’.
“That’s what it should be like, not waiting. When did he [Usyk] last fight? In August… it will nearly be 10 months before he’s back in the ring.
“It’s so tough being champion, so tough. But I give these guys credit for being in the position they are because that’s another challenge in itself.”
Joshua: ‘I’ve learnt’ from reaction to Usyk defeat
Joshua’s fight against Franklin at the O2 Arena is his first since losing to Usyk on a split decision in their rematch in Saudi Arabia in August.
The result infuriated Joshua, who proceeded to pick up two championship belts and throw them out of the ring before launching into an emotional speech.
Ahead of his return, Joshua says he is better prepared to cope with bitter disappointment in his career, but is determined to avoid another setback.
“Going through that emotion has led me to [this fight on] April 1, with a new set-up, new coach.” he said. “It made me realise that what I was doing wasn’t enough.
“I’ve had to push myself as an athlete.
“In terms of the way I handle defeats, I’ve definitely learnt – well, we’ll figure that out if that happens again. But I’ll try and do better in future, for sure.”
Joshua added: “It’s just good to be getting back on the gravy train, getting focused and active.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night.”