Anthony Joshua Says He Would ‘Fight King Kong' if He Had to as He Defends Titles Against Usyk
14:25 GMT 23.09.2021 (Updated: 13:41 GMT 01.03.2022)
© Sputnik / Chris SummersAnthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk press conference
© Sputnik / Chris Summers
Anthony Joshua beat Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev in December 2020 to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO titles. He is still hoping to fight Tyson Fury - who will defend his WBC belt against Deontay Wilder next month - to decide who is the undisputed champion.
Anthony Joshua has said he never considered trying to avoid his mandatory challenger, Oleksandr Usyk, and told journalists he would fight King Kong if necessary to keep his heavyweight titles.
Joshua has tasted defeat only once in 25 professional bouts while Usyk, a former cruiserweight world champion, is unbeaten in 18 fights.
On Saturday, 25 September, the pair will fight for Joshua’s three titles in front of 67,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London.
Joshua, 31, told a press conference on Thursday, 23 September: “If you told me I’m fighting King Kong I’d give it a go. I’m just going to work. He’s going to work. These are the best days of my life.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said: “This Saturday we are in for a special, special treat. Coming through a global pandemic we wondered whether we would experience nights like this again but we are proud to put on an iconic event that I believe we will never forget.”
Earlier this year Joshua agreed in principle to meet Tyson Fury in a fight to decide who is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world but Fury, 33, was then threatened with legal action by Deontay Wilder and has been forced to fight the American for the WBC title for a third time.
© AP Photo / Isaac BrekkenIn this Feb. 21, 2020, file photo, Tyson Fury, of England, stands on the scale during a weigh-in for his WBC heavyweight championship boxing match against Deontay Wilder, in Las Vegas.
In this Feb. 21, 2020, file photo, Tyson Fury, of England, stands on the scale during a weigh-in for his WBC heavyweight championship boxing match against Deontay Wilder, in Las Vegas.
© AP Photo / Isaac Brekken
Joshua opted to defend his WBO title against the mandatory challenger, the Ukrainian Usyk, and his promoter Eddie Hearn said this week the fighter had never considered relinquishing the belt.
"The dream has always been to be undisputed," said Hearn.
Fury told the BBC: "Usyk is no mug. People say to me, 'He's too small' and this and that but the guy is bigger than Muhammad Ali, he's bigger than Mike Tyson and he's bigger than Evander Holyfield…He's definitely a good fighter. Joshua's got a tough fight.”
© Sputnik / Chris SummersAnthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk
Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk
© Sputnik / Chris Summers
Usyk, 34, speaking through a translator, said: “This fight could make history. Me and Anthony are going to make a new chapter in boxing history. People will talk about it for a long time.”
Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk told the press conference: “Anthony Joshua is the king of the heavyweight division. But if you want to be the king, you have to dethrone the king.”
Joshua said he respected Usyk, who fought for 10 years as an amateur before becoming an Olympic champion, and he said: “The cream always rises to the top and we are here now.”
On the undercard Britain’s Lawrence Okolie will defend his WBO cruiserweight title against Dilan Prasovic, from Montenegro, and Ricky Hatton’s son Campbell will fight for only for the fourth time.
© AP Photo / Andrew CouldridgeBritain's Anthony Joshua punches Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev during their fight on 12 December 2020
Britain's Anthony Joshua punches Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev during their fight on 12 December 2020
© AP Photo / Andrew Couldridge
London-based Florian Marku, nicknamed The Albanian King, will also fight Maxim Prodan, who is based in Italy, on the undercard.
At the press conference Marku, a former kickboxer, told Prodan: “I’m going to destroy your face” and his opponent replied that his only chance of beating him would be if he had a Winchester rifle.
“I don’t need a gun. I have my two fists,” replied Marku.