Michael Bisping has warned Anthony Joshua that he could be staring down the barrel of retirement with a defeat in his next fight.
The former UFC champion has once again weighed in on the rematch between Britain’s Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, with just over a week until the pair do battle again on August 20.
Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, dethroned Joshua via a unanimous decision back in September last year to clinch the WBA Super, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The two meet at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia, with the fight to be broadcast exclusively live in the UK and Ireland on Sky Sports Box Office after the broadcaster paid a staggering £23million for the rights.
And Bisping, who held gold in the middleweight division when fighting in the octagon, has told Joshua that it could be time to hang up the gloves if he once again loses to Usyk, the man who ‘The Count’ believes will come out victorious once more.
On his YouTube channel, Bisping said:
“If Joshua wants to continue to be one of the best, to go down in history as potentially the best British fighter we had and champion of the world, then he has to win this fight.”
The fight is a pivotal moment in Joshua’s boxing career and a win could set up an undisputed clash with long-time rival Tyson Fury, should ‘The Gypsy King’ not decide to go ahead with the proposed trilogy clash against Derek Chisora.
“One has to think, I’m not trying to be negative here, if Joshua loses this fight then it’s the end of the road.
“What more is he going to do? Is he going to come back and try to claw his way back to the top? He’s been there, done it and he’s got the t-shirt.
“He’s made a tremendous amount of money, he’s achieved everything you want to achieve by getting involved in combat sports. If he loses this one, he’s lost his last two and he also lost his titles to Andy Ruiz.”
Joshua’s defeat at the hands of Ruiz came at the Diriyah Arena in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia and Bisping is under no illusions of what is at stake for the 32-year-old later this month.
“Certainly, those big fights, the opportunities for them have sailed. So there’s a lot of pressure for Joshua.”