Anthony Joshua says he never seriously considered quitting the sport after his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk last summer.
Joshua had a meltdown in the ring and broke down in tears at the press conference after losing his rematch to Usyk in Jeddah last August. He returns on April 1 at the O2 Arena, London, against Jermaine Franklin, having relocated his training base to Dallas to work with Derrick James – his third trainer in three fights.
But Joshua insists he is at peace now with the two losses to Usyk, even though he gives the impression he would like another go again someday.
“Usyk is a good fighter, you can’t underestimate anyone,” he said. “If him and [Tyson] Fury fight it will be a good fight, I’m not saying anything more than it will be a good fight. I worked hard for that fight but I have to work harder. To be good is one thing, to be very good is another thing.
“I gave him his props. To beat me, I respect you because I worked hard. I worked extremely hard. I had him praying in his corner. He was praying to God, that’s how much he wanted it. I have to work harder. That’s what Derrick does, he makes you work hard.
“Sacrifice is gaining, it’s so tough, I thought the other day ‘Is he not seeing that I’m dying here?’ I realized I can’t feel sorry for myself because I think I’m going to get something out of me.”
Any thoughts he may have had of retiring proved to be fleeting.
“Nah, not really,” he replied when asked if he had been serious about quitting the sport. “If you do [think that] then you have to get rid of that thought. That can’t live with you.”
At Thursday’s press conference he had stated that money was the main reason for continuing his career, but when talking to reporters afterwards he backed away from that being his main motivating factor.
“It’s about the money when you make your first £1,000, £2,000, £3,000 and when does it stop?” he said. “It becomes greedy. If it was just about the money then I would have stopped it about a certain level.
“The dream was to have a certain house, car and that was it. Then you surpass it and you put that to the back of your mind. If it’s just about the money then you stop. It’s not that. It’s a time thing and I’ve given myself an amount of time.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.
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