Anthony Joshua has found himself at a career crossroads.
The 33-year-old former two-time unified heavyweight champion of the world has lost three of his last five fights dating back to 2019.
After suffering his first career defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. via stoppage and later avenging the loss by beating Ruiz, Joshua has stopped Kubrat Pulev and lost two straight decisions to Oleksandr Usyk.
Most recently, Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) lost to Usyk in August and had a bizarre post-fight outburst to boot on the mic.
Joshua had been aiming for a return to the ring in December and even entertained overtures from archrival Tyson Fury, but ultimately, the British boxer decided to reboot and reset for a rebound campaign in 2023.
"I was supposed to be in the ring this year. I'm going to be in the ring next year. I'll be in the ring when I'm in the ring. I don't want to make any statements today and get held to the cross by it,” Joshua said in an interview on DAZN during the broadcast of the card headlined by Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Ramirez.
“So when I'm ready, I'll get back in the ring. You know what it is? I ain't champion and it's just hurting a lot. I'm in the gym rebuilding and restructuring everything I got to do inside and outside of the ring. There's a lot that goes on outside of the ring in my life which makes my ring life complicated. So I just need to simplify a lot of stuff outside of the ring and then just put my full attention in the ring, really. Once I have that done, next year I'll be ready.”
Before the Usyk sequel, Joshua split from long-time trainer Robert McCracken and handed coaching duties to Robert Garcia.
“My life is complicated. Boxing has become a bit complicated for me. Everyone is just trying to make the most of this time while I'm boxing and they are doing a good job. But it does affect my ring activity as well,” said Joshua. “So I just always trying to push all of that stuff away. It's a challenge. I'm just trying to get it out of the way this year so that next year I feel more focused.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.