By: Hans Themistode
Anthony Joshua no longer wants to play the what-if game.
The reigning unified heavyweight titlist was anxious to fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming an undisputed champion. By all accounts, Joshua was on the verge of having his opportunity to do just that. With that said, he was forced to wait once negotiations between himself and WBC/Ring Magazine belt holder, Tyson Fury, broke down.
Now, with Oleksandr Usyk set to face him on September 25th, Joshua has quickly shunned away from the disappointment he felt when his showdown against Fury failed to go through. But while he’s putting Fury on the back burner of his mind, Joshua still has him in his peripheral vision.
“He’s good and that’s all I could really say,” said Joshua when asked about his matchup with Usyk during an interview with Sky Sports Boxing. “He’s good but I need to be better. He’s a great challenger for the heavyweight titles and I’m looking to handle business. I have my eyes on other things.”
For Joshua, a matchup against Usyk feels somewhat predestined. Long before the Ukrainian captured every world title in the cruiserweight division, the pound for pound star was dominating the competition in the unpaid ranks. While his amateur record of 335-15 was impressive, Usyk’s crowning achievement, before turning professional, was winning gold during the 2012 Olympics in the heavyweight division.
Joshua, of course, has his own vivid memories of those same Olympic Games, taking home a gold medal in the super heavyweight division. As the current unified heavyweight champion stood on that Olympic podium next to Usyk with matching gold medals hanging from around their necks, he knew, that although their amateur paths were vastly different, that one day, they would face off in the ring.
“I got mines in a short amount of time. From the day I walked into the gym, to getting to the Olympics and winning, three and a half years. He’s had a long and vast amateur career. He got that gold as well. We both been on that trajectory as professionals. It just shows that the hustlers always meet at the top.”