A confident Anthony Joshua has suggested he could get rid of the heavyweight world titles if he is successful next month.
The two-time global ruler takes on Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch for the WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight titles on August 20.
Joshua was beaten comfortably by the Ukrainian last September, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, and it seemed an all-British showdown against Tyson Fury was a world away.
The defiant 32-year-old has warned that he may “dash” the belts if he beats the former undisputed cruiserweight king when they meet for the second time at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.
Whilst speaking to JD Sports, Joshua said:
“I feel like I’m not getting looked at as someone who is a dominant heavyweight in the division. This big Anthony Joshua goes and wins, becomes three-time, I’m going to dash these belts.”
“You’ve got to learn to respect me as a person. Quote that. I’m tired, I don’t want to be respected because of the belts I hold. I want to be respected because of the man you see.”
Joshua rode on the crest of a wave after claiming gold at London 2012 and making his debut in the paid ranks in October 2013. He claimed British, Commonwealth and a whole host of international baubles on his way to superstardom and becoming unified champion, beating the likes of Wladimir Klitschko.
The road to next month’s rematch against Usyk has been far from straightforward for the Watford man. He suffered a shock defeat to late replacement Andy Ruiz Jr. – having initially been set to face Jarrell Miller – on his American debut in June 2019, getting stopped by the California-based Mexican inside seven rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Joshua reclaimed his titles and became a two-time champion in his second meeting with Ruiz Jr. at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, six months later, outpointing him over 12 rounds.
“Maybe it’s because I’m British that none of these lot are respecting my thing, I said, ‘Alright, you know what? I’m going to bring the heavyweight division to Great Britain, I will show people we are solid.’
“I think people think we drink tea and eat biscuits and sit with the Queen.”