Anthony Joshua: Unless Tyson Fury is 100 per cent retired, you’ve got to beat him as well as Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua fights Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, to win back his place at the top of the heavyweight division.

Victory in this rematch would see Joshua recover the WBO, WBA and IBF titles he lost to Usyk in September. But even then he would not consider himself the best heavyweight in the world, not without fighting Tyson Fury.

“Unless he’s 100 per cent retired, you’ve got to beat Fury as well,” Joshua told Sky Sports News.

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Heavyweight boxer Dave Allen believes Anthony Joshua cannot beat Oleksandr Usyk on points in their rematch and needs to start fast to go for a stoppage

“This isn’t about Fury, with all due respect. That’s just my view on that. As it stands you’re just a winner, you’re a winner at the end of the day. There’s always another challenge out there.

“Until you retire you’re always going to be challenged to prove you’re the best in the world. The minute you say you’re the best is the minute you should pack up. That’s enough on that Tyson Fury situation.”

He is fully focused on his crunch rematch with Usyk. For him it’s been a long time coming.

“The time drags on. Normally you get straight back in there,” he said.

“Inactivity isn’t good for anyone but the pros are for all the changes that I’ve made personally, training camp, training location, having to form a new team, make them work together as well which is important in a training environment and that needed time. That needed time so straight after the fight, obviously I focused on recovery but I got straight to business and what you’ll see on Saturday is what we’ve been working on for the last, I would say, 10 months.”

Joshua is so focused on victory, he does not even consider himself the underdog against Usyk second time around.

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Former cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson believes Anthony Joshua may retire from boxing if he were to lose to Oleksandr Usyk once again

“Not me personally. I’m on it. Winner’s mindset, always. But I don’t know what the bookies say but me personally, not all,” Joshua explained.

“Mentally, just win, refuse to be beat and that’s how you mentally approach the fight. Just go in there with a winner’s mindset.”

Losing, he says, is intolerable.

“I just don’t want to go back to London without the belts. I know I say that the belts don’t mean anything but deep down they mean something. I just want to win. I just don’t want to go back without winning,” Joshua said.

“The mind’s strong so I believe all things will come to pass and I’m claiming victory. So hopefully it comes into existence August 20.”

Joshua: I’m going to smash Usyk on Saturday

Joshua has pledged to rediscover the aggressive side of his boxing against Usyk this weekend and acknowledges an action-packed, destructive approach had been key for so much of the early success in his career.

“I wanted to outbox my opponent, whether it was Usyk or anyone else, that was the mindset [in the first fight]. I wanted to outbox my opponent and on Saturday I want to smash my opponent. That’s just the mindset now,” Joshua told Sky Sports News.

“I was amateur for three and a half years and I done a lot in that time and I asked myself how? It wasn’t down to the skill element, because I was outclassed in terms of skill and experience by a lot of my competitors on the world scene, but that aggression.

“That will was something that couldn’t be denied. Then as you get more experience you try to develop as a rounded athlete. But ultimately you can’t take your eye off the factor of what got you to where you are which is, as you said, that aggressiveness.”

Listen to the latest Toe2Toe podcast from the heart of the Usyk vs Joshua fight week

Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!

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