Boxing

I need to fight Fury – Joshua

Anthony Joshua returns to action this month
Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 September
Coverage: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live; live text coverage on the BBC Sport website & app

Anthony Joshua says he “needs” to fight Tyson Fury before he retires, as he prepares for his latest title defence against Oleksandr Usyk.

The WBO, WBA (Super) and IBF champion takes on Usyk later this month at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and is hopeful he can fight Fury next.

“Do I need Tyson Fury on my record? I need it,” Joshua tells Steve Bunce on the 5 Live Boxing podcast.

“Fight good fighters and they bring out the best of you.”

Talks over an undisputed title fight collapsed during the summer, but Joshua says a showdown with Fury is hugely important to him.

“We need it for boxing,” he adds.

“Training camp is hard. To get better is very difficult in boxing. To fight Tyson Fury is a big challenge.

“I’m going to put that pressure on myself to actually get better. But it’s what we all need, I need it. Come on, let’s see how good I am.

“Let’s see how far I can take myself during this period. It’ll be a good challenge mentally. Not about him, but because I actually want to do well.

“When I wake up in the morning early and I’m tired, my body’s battered, I still go out and do what I do. It’s great rewards and only someone like Fury can give that to me.”

Fury fights Deontay Wilder in their trilogy clash next month and both heavyweights will need to win their respective bouts for the undisputed bout to go ahead next year.

Usyk, 34, was an undisputed champion at cruiserweight and has two wins at heavyweight, including a points victory over veteran Derek Chisora.

“The pressure’s back on,” Joshua said of their forthcoming meeting.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host boxing’s first major stadium fight in the UK since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

With over 60,000 fans expected, Joshua revealed he had just one regret in his boxing career.

“When I watch my first fight against Emanuele Leo, I was so bad,” he said.

“I wish I started earlier – I’d be much better. If I had started in 2000 then by 2010, I would have been a lot better. And when I started my pro journey, in three years I would have been the man I am today.

“I would have been more experienced, more seasoned.”

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