Anthony Joshua has hailed the notion of fighting in America as ‘phenomenal’ should his next fight be held Stateside.
It was widely expected that Joshua would be donning gloves with Wladimir Klitschko in a highly-anticipated rematch for November 11 in Las Vegas – with the former looking to defend his IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight belts.
However, Klitschko’s sudden announcement to retire on Thursday morning has put paid to that with IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev expected to be Joshua’s next opponent.
Anthony Joshua has revealed his excitement at the possibility of his next fight being in the USA
The heavyweight champion of the world spoke to Sportsmail exclusively at FitWater’s launch
Joshua will fight either in Cardiff on October 28 or November 11 in Las Vegas next
That fight will be held either on October 28 at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium or November 11 at the new hi-tech T-Mobile Arena – the venue for Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s Las Vegas showdown with Conor McGregor on August 26.
A fight across the Atlantic would be Joshua’s first outside of Great Britain in his unbeaten 19-fight professional career – a thought that excites him.
‘The prospect of fighting Stateside is phenomenal,’ he told Sportsmail exclusively on Wednesday, prior to Klitschko’s retirement, at Lucozade Sport’s launch of their new sports product, FitWater.
Klitschko’s decision to hang up the gloves will come as a blow to Joshua who was looking forward to putting on another spectacle with the former heavyweight champion. Their now one and only bout in April at Wembley was a blockbuster with Joshua’s 11th-round knockout victory heightening the clamour for a sequel, which was likely to be at the T-Mobile Arena.
‘For the USA to accept us, to welcome us and to accept that basically two foreigners are going over to America to potentially fight is great. I’m all for it because Americans support Americans, Brits support Brits but for them to say “Wladimir lives in Germany and Anthony lives in the UK but we welcome them to fight in the USA,” that’s phenomenal,’ he said of that possible rematch on Wednesday.
‘I just want to give them value for money because when Wladimir and I fight, we throw it down.’
Joshua had looked set for a rematch with Wladimir Klitschko on November 11 in Las Vegas
However, the heavyweight legend decided to retire from boxing after 21 years, on Thursday
Fighting Pulev in America, as opposed to in Great Britain, will pose different challenges for Joshua with the logistics of travelling and climate change posing two in itself. Having just visited Las Vegas, where he looked at the T-Mobile Arena and set up a facility to train at Mayweather’s fabled gym, Joshua is under no illusions that he will have to adapt his preparations. This will include moving his training camp to the Nevada State six weeks prior to fight night.
‘How I’ll prepare differently will be based on the little things – such as keeping hydrated,’ he added.
‘Even when I’m not training, the heat out there – as it’s a desert – will mean I’ll be sweating. That’s why I’ve been working with Lucozade and Lucozade Sport to keep me hydrated with different energy sources.
‘I’ll also be going out to America six weeks in advance so I can acclimatise to the time.’
IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev is set to be Joshua’s next opponent in either Wales or America
It will be approaching seven months since Joshua last fought come November 11, if it is that date, a long period of inactivity for the 2012 Olympic super-heavyweight gold medallist.
Having had to await Klitschko’s decision over whether or not to activate the rematch clause in his contract, Joshua has taken to other sports to keep himself ticking over for some variety in his training. These include tennis drills, which he uploaded via his Instagram account last week.
‘It’s good to keep the main thing, the main thing – which is boxing – but it’s nice not being dictated to.
‘I’m training with a bit more relaxation and I’m just having fun with it by playing football and tennis.
‘It’s not everyday boxing at the minute, it’s like four times a week and I’m not doing it three times a day – just once or twice if I want to.’
Joshua swapped his boxing gloves for a tennis racket while out in Las Vegas last week
He avoided tennis balls, being struck by his friend and coach JC, with his head movement
Joshua’s relaxed approach is something he has taken from his encounter with Klitschko. Having appeared on the brink of defeat, when knocked down for the first time in his career during the sixth round, he somehow found the will to knockout his 41-year-old opponent in devastating fashion.
And looking back at those punishing 11 rounds with the Ukrainian, Joshua says he has learned to not put too much weight on his shoulders – despite being the favourite to win every time he steps into a ring.
‘I still question myself why I started boxing, it’s not easy and I definitely learned that,’ he said light-heartedly before adding seriously: ‘I do it for passion and fun though – there is no other reason as it’s hard enough as it is – because if you don’t do it for the love of it then I wouldn’t be able to compete at that level anyway.
‘I never want to lose that passion and desire to improve myself and have fun with what I’m doing.
‘I don’t see it as a complicated job or rocket science. I go to the gym, I live the mental side of my job and just have fun and enjoy my day-to-day lifestyle.
‘I just have fun with my training and that’s how I approach every day and that’s I’ve learned about myself – to take things with a pinch of salt and don’t put too much pressure on myself.’
Joshua tries to not put too much pressure on himself after his experience of the Klitschko bout
The 27-year-old’s impressive professional career reads 19 wins from 19 fights all via knockout
With his hot hands in the ring matching his warmth outside it, the Watford-born star has become a flag-bearer of British boxing with his personality having made non-boxing fans Anthony Joshua supporters.
‘It’s not just me that’s flying the flag, there are a lot of us, but to be one those is great as it’s a real positive time for sport in general, he said humbly.
‘It’s a shame that a lot of my idols have passed away, such as Muhammed Ali and Bruce Lee, so we’re the new generation and we’ve got to represent. We need characteristics in the whole sporting industry and if I can fly the flag for sport in general and add to that, I’m all for it.’
A 20th knockout win, to maintain his 100 per cent KO record, in a potential November bout with Pulev would solidify his burgeoning legacy and prove to America that they do get their bang for the buck with AJ.
The Watford-born star will be hoping to raise his fist as a winner once more in his 20th bout
Joshua was joined by Australian fitness influencer Emily Skye at Wednesday’s FitWater launch