Anthony Joshua has labelled Oleksandr Usyk a “great challenger” ahead of their heavyweight title clash on September 25th.
Joshua defends his belts against his fellow 2012 Olympic gold medallist and victory should clear the path for a 2022 unification showdown with the winner of October’s meeting between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
Joshua and Fury had spent the bulk of 2021 negotiating a huge fight but those plans were thwarted by an independent arbiter who ruled that Wilder was entitled to third meeting with Fury. Instead, Joshau has pushed on with his own career and he’s fully aware of the threat that Usyk poses.
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"When I step into that ring, no matter how much of a nice guy I am, it's about winning," said Joshua when speaking to Sky Sports. "It's about defining performances and training in the right fashion so I look good, which adds stock to my value.
"When you fight good opponents, people respect it. They have to give you credit. This is about being a throwback fighter and taking on all challenges. It's about statement performances.
Joshua added, "He has had a long, vast amateur career. We have been on the same trajectory as professionals. It shows the hustlers always meet at the top. The cream rises to the top. I rate all my opponents. He's good. It's all about the final bell and whose hand is raised.
“He's good but I'm better. He is a great challenger for the heavyweight titles. I'm looking to do a good job, to handle business, because I have my eyes set on other things."