Unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua stopped by The Breakfast Club while in New York promoting his June 1 fight against Jarrell Miller, and discussed a number of hot topics surrounding the heavyweight division — including the fights everyone wants to see him in. Check out some excerpts from the interview below...
Joshua on why he’s fighting Jarrell Miller instead of Wilder, Fury, and Ortiz, if he wants to be universally recognized as the best heavyweight:
“It’s a good question. So, if you look at [our opening press conference], right, how it’s got everyone talking about it in our industry — it’s a perfect move to come to the USA and fight. Like I’m fighting in MSG, he’s from Brooklyn, New York, so it made sense to fight. And then once I establish myself here, then we look straight at the Luis Ortizs if Wilder and Fury isn’t ready because my strategy was to fight Wilder in April, ‘cause he was about this ‘one face, one name champion’ so we was like ‘alright, cool.’
“Wilder has earned ten pound, we’re gonna offer him X. He wants all the belts, we’ve got all the belts, biggest stadium, but he wasn’t interested. So now what we’ve done, we’ve come to the States as well to show that if you don’t want to do it on our turf, we can come here and we can box on your turf as well.
“So it’s just a power move as well as a passionate move for the love of the sport. And once I get ‘Big Baby’ out the way, if Wilder and Fury are still uninterested, because they were talking about blacklisting me — they don’t really want me to be leading the pack as such, in terms of negotiations, which is weird to me because there’s enough for everyong to eat — then I can look straight directly at Luis Ortiz because that’s the next guy that I feel once I’ve broken the market in the USA, he’s a good fighter to fight.”
On if he thinks he can beat Wilder, Fury, and Ortiz:
“A hundred percent...stats and facts, I’ve been in the game a lot less time, I’ve swam deeper, and I’ve come out on top each time. So I just think — just born to do what I do. And I don’t need to boast and brag about it either. I’m just born to do what I do and there’s no two ways about it.
“What I feel is good is that I used to carry this whole division on my own back...now it’s good to have ‘oh, I don’t think you can beat Wilder, I don’t think you can beat Fury.’ The division is thriving as a whole, everyone’s bringing something to the table now. Before I was just sitting here, and that’s why I’ve got a lot of envy and hate because ‘why him, why him, why him?’ But you guys have been professional 10-15 years and never made the move to fight anyone.
“Tyson Fury fought Wladimir Klitschko one fight and now became a boxing god. But he’s been professional 11 years and I’m thinking ‘what took these boys so long to grow some nuts?’ when we done it in four year when it took them 10 years. I just know that, stats and facts, I’m just levels above because I’ve got the balls and the skills.”
On Wilder taking tough back-to-back fights against Ortiz and Fury:
“They are hard back-to-back fights. I think he realized that if he wants to get the respect as a champion, you can’t have 38 fights, 40 fights, without fighting no one credible. So I think he’s realized that ‘I wanna be popular in the States, I wanna hand around with the athletes and the movie stars and to get the respect among people in my own industry I need to fight people.’ So it’s taken him 10 years to grow that confidence — which is fine but now he’s here and he’s got a young champion coming through.
“We have been negotiating, trying to get this fight made and I’m sure it will happen because we’re in the same era, same division, there’s no reason why it can’t happen. It’s just timing, unfortunately.”
On people thinking he hasn’t fought the best opponents out there either:
“So what happened is that in my 16th fight I took the title, defended it against Dominic Breazeale — who Wilder’s probably gonna fight next, so it’s like ‘why you going backwards?’ — but anyway, so I fought Breazeale, I was supposed to fight Klitschko straight after. Defended against Molina because Klitschko pulled out with an injury...
“So now I had my hand on one belt, three fights later I took another belt, defended it against another fighter, beat Parker, took his belt. So I’m saying ‘I’ve collected everything’ so it’s like Lord of the Rings, I’ve got all four, Wilder come and see me. If you think you’re the best in the world and the king of the division, come and beat me and prove it, and then you can run wild and negotiate them crazy terms that you’re talking about.
“So I just feel like if you’re the best in the world and you truly believe it, come and see me, let’s get pen to paper, and then you have a chance of fighting in front of 100,000 people, payday, all the belts, and you can prove to the world that you are the best. But it’s just been a bit difficult.”
On what ‘crazy terms’ Wilder was asking for after he said he was willing to go to the UK and take less money:
“That’s the thing, I couldn’t even tell you. That’s what I’m baffled about. So as I’ve said, April 13th, we had the date set. And it was like when you start listening to certain things like ‘oh, we want to blacklist him’ — if you hear what he says sometimes, how he’s been trying to contact our management but we’re not interested, Tyson Fury, that’s the guy we want, but I’m saying ‘it was about one face, one name, one champion.’
“But I can’t really control what Wilder says or what he does, just know that when he’s ready, we’re ready. And whatever he’s done in his career, we can surpass that and double it, triple it, and give him a better offer than he’s ever seen before, and give him a shot at becoming one of the best fighters in history. What more can you want?”
On Wilder saying he wasn’t allowed by Sky Sports to confront Joshua in the ring during a post-fight interview:
“So he talks about the Sky Sports thing...the only time I’ve let someone in the ring after the fight is when I signed the deal. So Klitschko got in the ring with me because we had a deal signed, it’s like ‘let’s get him in the ring after I win and now we promote the fight saying the date’s set, the fight’s set.’ Wilder wanted to come to without signing a contract. It’s like ‘why you getting in the ring?’
“This ain’t about building profiles or hype. If you’re serious and want to get in the ring let the world know we’ve got a fight. If you’re not serious and you haven’t signed the fight there’s no need to get in the ring because this is my show...by that time we had no deal in place so I said don’t waste your time or my time...so that was my view on that situation.”
On Wilder saying that Joshua doesn’t want to fight him because he’s afraid of losing and knows that Wilder is the most dangerous fight he can take:
“In terms of the most dangerous man in this game, I don’t really — that’s opinions...he’s a good talent but I don’t think he’s the most dangerous man in this game. In terms of fearing of losing, of course that’s how I feel — I don’t wanna lose — but neither does he. But it’s not a point of a situation where I will stop doing what I love because I fear losing. If there’s no rain you can’t enjoy the sun. It comes with the territory, losing in the game, so I’m never afraid of losing, it is what it is...
“If you listen to what I said is that there was an offer of $50M, I said ‘that’s a really good offer.’ That’s a really good offer but we just wanted to see proof of funds, that wasn’t available, so he said ‘alright cool, let’s get it over in the UK, April 13th,’ made him an offer, and then he said he wanted to blacklist me and fight Tyson Fury and that was the situation.”
On talk that Eddie Hearn has been preventing the Wilder fight from happening:
“Nah, Eddie Hearn, in my opinion, has done a phenomenal job to bring boxing back. He’s taken over the game. But I’m just not really into like, it’s hard to say ‘he said, she said.’ Of course it’s my fault as well, and his fault. I’m not gonna say it was all him and I’m sitting here ready.
“The fight hasn’t been made, somewhere along the line maybe I didn’t make the right offer or something, do you know what I mean? So it’s a bit of both of us as well, so he didn’t like certain things, I didn’t like certain things, maybe I should’ve just given him everything he wanted to make the fight happen. But in hindsight I’ve got people that are managing me, protecting me, saying ‘you’ve got to play ball as well.’ It’s a negotiation, you don’t get what you’re worth, you get what you negotiate and it’s difficult times when you’ve got two people who bring something to the table and then sooner or later we’ll find out who the best is and that’s where we’re going...Ortiz, Wilder Fury, we’ll all connect the dots sooner or later.”
On if he thinks Hearn believes in him as much as he says since he hasn’t put him in the ring with those guys as of yet:
“I just feel like we’ve made the offers. Like we made Tyson Fury a big offer to fight April 13th — he said he wasn’t interested in no percentage splits, give him a flat fee...The proof’s in the pudding, I can get out like emails and stuff. Proof’s in the pudding, we made lucrative to get these guys to fight and I’m saying that when I was fighting for the championship belt, I took the low end of the stick because I knew that I wanted to prove that I was the best and once I do that I can sit here as king now and say ‘I run the division, come and see me.’
“So I’m saying that I’ve got four of the major belts, like what more do you want? You can fight for the belts, your biggest payday, a fight in front of 100,000 people — it’s a global sporting event to kind of build your profile.
“Look at ‘Big Baby’ Miller, he’s kind of gone on and now become a YouTube sensation for that push...so with all these positive things I’m just baffled to say why they don’t really want to fight you.”
On if he thinks the other top heavyweights are scared to face him:
“Honestly, hand on my heart, there’s no fear in any of these guys...None of these guys are scared but I just feel like they want big rewards for less risk.”
On Wilder and Fury likely to say that he’s lying about how they’re negotiations went and why they never reached terms:
“I’ll make it clear. No one’s scared. I’m not blaming them for anything — both of us have issues...we’ve got emails of the offers, I’ve got the belts, there’s no more to it. There’s no more I can really say about the situation...
“I don’t think it’s because they’re scared, I just think it’s not the right time for them...”