Anthony Joshua reveals he won't box until next year while he battles his mental demons following Tyson Fury fight talks | The Sun
ANTHONY JOSHUA will not box in December as he battles to rebuild his mental health after back-to-back Oleksandr Usyk losses.
The 33-year-old London 2012 Olympic golden boy was dethroned of his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles by the Ukraine mastermind in September 2021.
And he failed with his August rematch – despite a vastly improved performance – and broke down in the aftermath, throwing a couple of his old belts to the floor and crying in the post-fight press conference.
A decade of carrying such huge expectations on his giant shoulders came pouring out of the father-of-one, after he lost his crowns and any chance of his career-long goal of an undisputed decider,
And despite the Watford icon and promoter Eddie Hearn vowing he would fight in December, the powerhouse pin-up has now confirmed – although he is fighting fit – his head is still not fully recovered.
AJ entered talks with undefeated WBC Gypsy King Tyson Fury about a potential December 3 showdown.
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But he pulled out of talks when his commercial and sponsorship partnerships clashed with playing second fiddle on the Fury show, planned for the Cardiff stadium.
And he has now confirmed to broadcasters DAZN, that his family has urged him to take an extended break to let his huge heart and mind recover from the punishing losses.
“You saw after my last fight, I swear it tore me apart,” Joshua bravely admitted.
“I had so much riding on it, for me, the British fans, the undisputed fight.
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“It just really tore me apart so, from a mental capacity, my close ones are telling me to rest, mentally.
“Physically I am down to ride, I am a warrior, I like this game and I like competing.
"But, from a mental aspect, I think people have really seen it means a lot.”
Bitter nemesis Fury has made a second career out of being a mental health campaigner, after his own breakdown coincided with a 2017 back-dated doping ban.
But Joshua bottled up all of his struggles until his rock-hard facade melted away in the scorching Saudi Arabia desert.
He now faces another rebuilding process and will most likely return to the ring in the Spring of 2023, against a mid-level opponent, to help get him back to winning ways.
But watching seven-year-old son JJ learn to handle defeats has also taught the 6ft 6in ace to roll with the punches.
He said: “Even if I am not fighting, my name is getting called out every day so it’s a mental pressure of being AJ and holding up a reputation, they go hand-in-hand.
“Trying to do this thing – and do it properly – is tough. Boxers are rough and tough but this boxing is a lot of mental pressure.
“I won’t know how I will feel until I am back in there. But the best feeling, that will be good for me, is winning.
“That feeling of losing is not nice. Now I know why my son gets so angry when he loses at anything. I never understood it before.
“Regardless of the belts, the feeling of winning will be amazing again, internally.”
Joshua has now missed out on the two elite heavyweight fights of his era – against fellow Brit Fury and American KO king Deontay Wilder – over money and contracts.
But he still hopes he can prove himself by eventually getting the 34-year-old Morecambe master in the ring, even though Fury insists that ship has now definitely sailed.
“I love doing business, good business and good contracts,” he said. “All that social media stuff is just time-consuming.
"My dance partner, the last geezer I was supposed to fight (Fury), he's a good dance partner.
"He handles the social media side. I think we'd do good business behind the scenes.
“It will happen, we’re in the same era.
“Just as two competitors, two fighters. He's definitely someone that's a fighting man.”
SunSport expects Joshua’s steady comeback trail will lead to a third fight with Dillian Whyte – who he beat a 2015 barnstormer and lost to in a 2009 amateur slugfest.
After an April knockout loss to Fury, the 35-year-old Body Snatcher returns to ring on November 26 – on AJ’s DAZN broadcasters – suggesting the pair are back on a collision course while Fury and Usyk plan a March undisputed bout.
Joshua said: “If you look at the way I have handled my business, I have never had to call anyone out or disrespect anyone to make a fight, or make it bigger.
“I have always just handled my business in my fashion and, in doing that, I have won every belt twice, apart from the WBC.
“I still have targets and goals to achieve but, so far, I feel like my strategy has been working.
“I like fighting good opponents and, as important as it is for me to be a champion, I always wanted to fight the best of my era because there has been this stigma about cherry-picking.
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“If you want to get to the top in boxing you have to take risks, calculated risks.
"And it’s not how popular you are, it’s how good of a fighter you are that makes you popular.”
You’re Not Alone
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
- Movember, www.uk.movember.com
- Anxiety UK www.anxietyuk.org.uk, 03444 775 774 Monday-Friday 9.30am-10pm, Saturday/Sunday 10am-8pm
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