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Anthony Joshua is scared of losing to me, says Deontay Wilder

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Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua during the press conference in London, ahead of the mega-show in Riyadh. PHOTO: REUTERS

Former world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder said the main reason why he has not fought Anthony Joshua yet is because the British boxer’s promoters are afraid of losing their “cash cow”.

The pair will fight separate opponents on the same bill at a mega-show in Riyadh on Dec 23, with former WBC (World Boxing Council) title holder Wilder taking on Joseph Parker and Joshua, the former WBA (World Boxing Association), IBF (International Boxing Federation) and WBO (World Boxing Organisation) champion, facing Otto Wallin.

Wilder and Joshua could fight each other in 2024 if both win at the weekend, but while previous negotiations between the two camps reportedly broke down due to financial issues, the American said that was not the case.

“Money hasn’t been the issue,” the 38-year-old told BBC Sport.

“It comes with not having the heart, the will, the courage to step in the ring. I don’t want to say he’s 100 per cent afraid, but I think he’s 75 per cent.

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“I don’t really just blame it on Joshua. I blame it on his handlers, on his promotion and his management. Because let’s face it Joshua is the cash cow of the company.

“Without him, no money is drawn into Matchroom. Not only do I feel Joshua is intimidated of me, but I feel his promoter is as well. That’s why the fight hasn’t happened.”

Joshua, 34, said he is focused on the bigger picture and is eyeing the IBF title first if he beats Wallin.

The BBC reported that he has two potential options if he defeats the 33-year-old, either face Wilder or have a shot at the IBF belt against Filip Hrgovic.

“I would love to fight for the IBF, and love to fight Deontay Wilder. Either are really good options,” Joshua said.

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“Of course I want to become champion. I’m focused on my opponent and focused on the bigger picture.

“The championship is worth much more to me, that’s special, becoming three-time champion in the world. Then I’d defend it against Wilder.”

Wilder, though, is still hopeful of a fight against the Briton.

He added: “We’ll see what happens. The future is bright and we are farther (in talks) than we’ve ever been in history. I can say that with certainty.”

—  Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Boxing

Dubois promises to put an end to Anthony Joshua era

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It promises a tough time for Anthony Joshua if the words of Daniel Dubois are anything to go by, as both will clash in September.

“I’m aiming to be the best. AJ (Joshua) has been the King for a long time but on the night I need to be the ‘King slayer’. That’s the goal, the mission I have,” Dubois said at the news conference on Wednesday.

“I’m ready to let my fists do the talking. I’m 100% ready to go and to train like a beast.”

Dubois has a 21-2 record with 20 knockouts while 34-year-old Joshua’s record is 28-3, including 25 knockouts.

Usyk beat two-times heavyweight champion Joshua twice – first in 2021 to seize the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts and again in 2022 when he defended the belts – but the Briton has won his last four fights.

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“I went out to watch his last fight… Dubois has been on my mind for a while and he will be for the next 12 weeks,” Joshua said.

“Whoever was going to be there, I was ready to fight in September. It just happened to be him.”

When questioned about the age difference, Joshua said: “It don’t matter, we’re in peak condition. Age is just a number.”

Usyk had knocked out Dubois in nine rounds last year in a bout overshadowed by a low blow controversy when the Ukrainian went down gasping for breath after he was hit on the band of his shorts.

“Anthony and Daniel, I know the IBF title is important to you. It is my present to you on September 21,” Usyk said on X, opens new tab when he vacated the belt.

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The winner of the bout between Joshua and Dubois could then get a crack at the undisputed champion after Usyk and Fury have their rematch.

The undercard will have five bouts, including two for the IBF super-featherweight title and the WBO interim light-heavyweight title.

“This is probably the most stacked card in British boxing history, certainly in my lifetime, headlined by Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua,” Queensberry promoter Frank Warren said.

“Where better to do it at the national stadium, Wembley?”

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Usyk vacates IBF heavyweight title

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Oleksandr Usyk has vacated the International Boxing Federation (IBF) heavyweight belt, the Ukrainian said on Tuesday, five weeks after becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion.

The announcement comes after Usyk’s mandatory IBF title defence against challenger Croatian Filip Hrgovic was left pending and Daniel Dubois became the new interim IBF heavyweight champion by beating Hrgovic earlier this month.

The 37-year-old Usyk requested not to be stripped of his IBF belt to contest the undisputed champion title when he takes on Fury in their December rematch, where only the WBC, WBO and WBA titles will now be on the line.

The heavyweight IBF title, which Usyk held since 2021, will be up for grabs when Anthony Joshua takes on Dubois in September at Wembley Stadium.

“Anthony and Daniel, I know the IBF title is important to you. It is my present to you on 21 September,” Usyk said in a video message on X.

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Last month Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 as he claimed the WBC title by beating Tyson Fury by a split decision in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk said he may return to the cruiserweight division following his rematch with Fury.

-Reuters

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Boxing

Anthony Joshua set to become world champion again

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Nigerian-born British boxer, Anthony Joshua may reclaim one of his lost heavyweight titles in September. Holder of one of the belts, Oleksandr Usyk of Ukrain has vacated the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Joshua was a former holder of the belt, which he won in February 2016 after defeating previous holder, Charles Martin.

Joshua lost the belt along with two others in his bout with Oleksandr Usyk.  The Ukrainian has now vacated that title and so, the September bout of Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua in September at Wembley Stadium will fill the vacant position.

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