By Keith Idec
Anthony Joshua is willing to try mixed martial arts, but the unbeaten heavyweight champion admits he’d probably lose in that sport.
The 6-feet-6, 250-pound Joshua told Sky Sports for a story posted to its website Monday that he is intrigued by the possibility of participating in an MMA match. The attention the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor boxing match has received has made Joshua realize he could make plenty of money and attract a lot of attention if he crossed over to MMA.
“I like fighting,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “I’d do whatever.”
The IBF/WBA/IBO heavyweight champion understands, however, just how difficult it would be to defeat a trained mixed martial artist in his MMA debut. That’s why if the British star attempted MMA, he would do so only if his opponent couldn’t attempt submission moves in their fight.
“I’d probably get beaten,” Joshua continued. “The only thing that they can’t do [in a fight against me] is submissions. But they can kick, elbow, bite – whatever they want. Just no submissions.
“I can’t beat a guy [by submission]. That takes a lot of time to learn the skills and submissions, which I don’t have the time for. But when it comes to pure aggression and fighting rules, I can definitely fight, so I don’t mind that.”
Joshua learned by watching other boxers fail in MMA that submissions would be his downfall if he tried that sport.
“If you look at most boxers who’ve crossed over to MMA, they get beaten on the ground,” Joshua said. “James Toney, Roy Jones, they were phenomenal boxers, but they just couldn’t compete in the cage because of the ‘ground-and-pound’ game.”
Now that former champion Wladimir Klitschko has opted for retirement over an immediate rematch with the Joshua, the knockout artist from Watford, England, is headed toward a fall fight against Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev. Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) is expected to face Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs), the mandatory challenger for his IBF title, on October 28 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.