Anthony Joshua makes worrying two-word admission ahead of Oleksandr Usyk fight

Hearn hopeful for Joshua v Fury bout early in 2022

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Having fought just once in the past 21 months, you’d assume Anthony Joshua is raring to go ahead of his clash with Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Saturday. The British heavyweight will put his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO world titles on the line against the Ukranian, in his first bout since knocking out Kubrat Pulev back in December 2020.

However Joshua, 31, whose hopes of a long-awaited bout with Tyson Fury this year were scuppered when the latter was ordered by an arbitration judge to fight Deontay Wilder, has made a worrying admission ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

“I’m tired,” he said, in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“There is a lot of fatigue in camp. Right now, you can see light at the end of the tunnel. I have been heading through it and there are long weeks ahead, but you are saying to yourself, ‘Come on, nearly done, just stick with it. It is round the corner’.

“I wish the fight was tomorrow, because it’s fatigue on the brain, fatigue on the body, staying consistent for such a long period of time during camp. But I am a professional, dedicated to this cause. This is me. I am a fighter.”

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Joshua has appeared noticeably slimmer in the build-up to his fight with Usyk, who moved up to the heavyweight division in 2019 and successfully petitioned the WBO to install him as their mandatory challanger.

It is widely believed that should Joshua prevail, and then Fury overcome Wilder on October 9, it would finally set-up the bout between the two British fighters that both have claimed to have craved for considerable time.

Joshua, whose only defeat in his 25 fights came against Andy Ruiz Jr back in May 2019, also described how he learnt his fight plans for this year were to suddenly change.

“I think I had been training and I had a text message and some missed calls on my phone,” he explained. “My management messaged me and said, ‘This is the situation’, but also immediately they said, ‘We have this other option lined up if you want it’. Fine, let’s go.”

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He conceded the news left him feeling “weird”, but insisted he will continue to push for the fight despite scepticism from boxing fans as to whether it will ever happen.

“We were meant to have fought by now and here we are talking about it,” he added.

“But it will happen. I know what people are saying about boxing politics, but I’ll promise before the end of my career I will have done everything in my power to fight Tyson Fury.”

For now though, it is Usyk, 34, who occupies his focus and the man who became the first cruiserweight in history to hold all four major world championships, and holds a perfect 18-0 professional record, will undoubtedly prove a dangerous opponent in London.

And despite his admission, Joshua will know he can ill-afford to be occupied by fatigue against he man he speaks highly of.

“Talent-wise I love the challenge of this guy because he has done well and he wants it,’ he said.

“He is a God-fearing man, very religious, comes from a lineage of great champions like Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Vasyl Lomachenko. He puts the effort in and gets results.

“Yeah, he’s passionate and dedicated to his cause, which makes him a confident person. He likes to have laughs, and has fun with his work. I have seen mad people and he isn’t a mad person. He is just fun. He is having fun because he knows what he is doing.”

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