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Get King Kong for AJ! Joshua understands critics´ demands

23 September 2018 12:25

Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is happy for naysayers to keep picking holes in his armoury as it can help him become the perfect fighting machine.

Joshua retained his IBF, WBA and WBO titles with the 22nd victory - and 21st knockout - of an unblemished professional career by battering veteran Russian Alexander Povetkin to a seventh-round loss at Wembley on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Briton was wobbled by a left hook at the end of round one and experienced his share of problems from Povetkin's roving attacks before clinically closing the show – resuming a KO record that Joseph Parker checked over the course of 12 tactical rounds in Cardiff earlier this year.

As the visitor came groggily to his senses on his stool, thoughts turned to the December 1 clash between WBC king Deontay Wilder and former undefeated champion Tyson Fury.

Joshua has another Wembley date booked on April 13 and the demand is for him to face the Wilder-Fury winner, with the alternative of an easier-to-negotiate rematch against domestic rival Dillian Whyte lacking similar appeal.

Speaking after cleaning up a nose bloodied by a Povetkin left hook, the 2012 Olympic gold medallist acknowledged trying to please all of the people all of the time is a futile exercise, albeit a beneficial one to pursue.

"With my critics, I look at them not as my enemies but my friends. They look for the smallest things in you to make you perfect," he said.

"I started wondering if I could go 12 rounds [against Parker], so I started training on my endurance. Just because of that one fight – my 21st fight - when I decided not to knock him out, they were saying, 'we need excitement back' and all that type of stuff. So I said, 'alright, cool'.

"If it was an easy opponent, no one would watch it. That's the appeal – give Anthony the toughest of the toughest.

"Get King Kong, dig up the old school and get them to fight AJ. We want to see who's going to beat him.

"That's the appeal in boxing, that sense of superiority. Who's the strongest man? That's what people want to tune in for. They're looking for that person, so I've got to stay on top of my game."

Not for the first time, Fury offered a disparaging assessment of Joshua's work and declared he would "jab his head off" on the evidence of the Povetkin fight.

The man now in possession of all the belts Fury claimed from Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 chose to rise above the bait but offered a measured warning that he is ready for whatever blockbuster assignment comes next.

"Good luck to them both [Wilder and Fury], boxing needs it," he said. "They've been professional nine years, I've been pro five.

"I bore the burden of the heavyweight division on my back for years. It was all about me [potentially] fighting Wilder, fighting Fury, fighting Klitschko, fighting Dillian, fighting Povetkin.

"That's all they were interested in, me fighting them all. And I'll always knock them down one by one, but people have to be patient.

"April 13 is booked for whoever wants to step up and take the challenge. I'm always willing to fight.

"This is what I do for a living. Whichever heavyweight is serious we can look at making the deal."

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