‘I Don’t Duck A Challenge’: Anthony Joshua Still Open To Deontay Wilder Bout

February 28, 2024
1 month
Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua has said a future fight with Deontay Wilder isn’t “completely written off” after insisting that he will never duck a challenge in his career.

Two-time unified heavyweight world champion Joshua is currently preparing for his March 8 bout with former UFC champion Francis Ngannou in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

AJ’s next fight was expected to be against Wilder but the former WBC world champion suffered a shock one-sided points defeat to Joseph Parker in the co-main event fight to Joshua’s stoppage win over Otto Wallin last December.

Having signed on to fight Wilder in Saudi Arabia, on the provision that both came through their last bouts, Joshua has admitted it was “annoying in a way because in fight week we met up, we spoke to lawyers, we signed contracts, all that good stuff”.

“It’s a fight that fans want to see,” he told Sky Sports. “I’m not saying it’s completely written off. It’s a fight where everything was signed and sealed. It just needed both of us to deliver. And he didn’t meet his end of the bargain.”

Joshua ‘Ready To Fight Any Time’

There had long been calls for Joshua and Wilder to fight each other, particularly when both men held all the heavyweight world titles. Various attempts at negotiations collapsed over the years, meaning the fight never happened when they were both in their primes.

Joshua took a fair bit of criticism for the fight never taking place, although the Briton can point to his much more impressive CV and the caliber of fighters he has faced compared to Wilder. AJ also signed on to fight current WBC champion Tyson Fury, but that bout fell through when Fury was court-ordered to fight Wilder for a third time.

“You now what it proved to me, I’ve signed to fight Fury, I’ve signed to fight Wilder, I’ve signed to fight a lot of people. I just do good business. I’m a good prizefighter, I don’t duck a challenge,” Joshua said. “I’m always up for it. I just feel to myself I’ll always be here and ready to fight any time.”

The next challenge Joshua has refused to “duck” is a risky showdown with Ngannou where he has plenty to lose. The Cameroonian has only contested one professional boxing bout, although he did impress against an albeit out-of-shape Fury, sending the champion to the canvas in the third round and taking the fight to a split decision.

Still, Joshua is expected to win this fight comfortably while a defeat could be disastrous, especially after his impressive return to form in 2023, when he fought and won three times.

Joshua Refuses To Underestimate Ngannou

“He had a good outing against Tyson Fury who is the current WBC champion. So I think it will be good for me to see where I’m at,” Joshua said. “You should always overestimate people if you want my opinion. Never underestimate anyone, always overestimate people and that way you’ll never be surprised.”

A victory to start 2024 will be the ideal springboard for Joshua and his hopes of becoming a three-time heavyweight world champion. How the title picture looks will depend first on the outcome of Fury’s May 18 undisputed clash with Oleksandr Usyk, who won and then retained the IBF, WBO, and WBA belts against Joshua.

Fury and Usyk are contracted for a rematch, so there is the possibility one or more of the titles will be made vacant, opening the door for Joshua to get back into the champions’ circle.

Joshua, though, is focused only on his journey, adding: “On this quest for greatness how far can I push myself? How much can my brain keep on going until it gives up and I’m like: I can’t do it anymore?

I want to keep on pushing my brain and trying new things. Get quicker, stronger, smarter in the ring. Face challenges, because I learn so much about myself. And then when it’s enough, enough is enough.”