Anthony Joshua is training through his self-quarantine as if he is trying to prove he is better than Tyson Fury.
If that reads as though Joshua is looking past Kubrat Pulev, well, he is – at least figuratively. The IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion explained his current state of mind during a recent appearance on Chris Mannix’s Sports Illustrated boxing podcast.
“It’s in a way overlooking Pulev, but I’ve gotta look through Pulev because I’m gonna walk through Pulev,” Joshua said in reference to his IBF mandatory challenger and upcoming opponent. “That’s the mindset. I’ve gotta walk through him. When it comes to Pulev, he ain’t on my level. I want the boys at the top. I ain’t worried about the boys, you know, around me. I’m walking through them all, and that’s the mindset that we have to have as fighters. So, I’m looking at Tyson Fury like I’m gonna walk through him as well, because I had my issue last year, I got through it and I wanna correct it.
“And I told you like people don’t know what that does for a fighter mentally, when he loses in front of the world, and what it takes to come back. And, you know, having this time to reflect has been a blessing in disguise. It’s been a blessing in disguise, so we’ll see what the future holds and when Fury and Wilder’s ready, I’ll tell you this, I will not turn down that offer.”
England’s Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) was supposed to make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against Bulgaria’s Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs) on June 20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Their mandated match has been delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pulev has lost only to retired ex-champion Wladimir Klitschko, who knocked him out in the fifth round of their title fight in November 2014 in Hamburg, Germany. But Pulev will turn 39 before he challenges Joshua, who is consistently listed as at least a 10-1 favorite to beat him.
Most Internet sports books list Fury as a 2-1 favorite over Joshua if they were to box. Fury-Joshua would be the biggest fight in British boxing history, but Fury must defeat Deontay Wilder again in their third fight and Joshua has to topple Pulev for Fury-Joshua to remain viable.
England’s Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), the WBC champion, and Alabama’s Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) are tentatively scheduled to fight October 3 at an undetermined venue.
“The only reason is because of that Ruiz fight,” Joshua said regarding why he is listed as an underdog against Fury. “That’s the only reason, and that’s why I’m ready to redeem and put trust back into my stable. I get it. I get it, you know. After I went through what I went through, and made no excuse, it must’ve seemed that Ruiz beat the better man that night. You know, so I didn’t make no excuse, so Ruiz must’ve believed that, ‘Yeah, that night I beat the best Anthony Joshua.’
“And that’s cool to think that, but I’m working. It’s such a shame that I’m in quarantine right now because it’s put a halt to greatness. But this is part of history. But I’m working toward beating Tyson Fury. Whether the bookmakers or [non-believers] or the doubters wanna be with me or not, I have to believe it. I’m working towards beating, you know, Tyson Fury.”
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