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Anthony Joshua admits he is being motivated to get revenge against Oleksandr Usyk to revive a £150m super fight with Tyson Fury.
The Watford warrior ruined hopes of an undisputed showdown with the Gypsy King when he was outpointed by Ukrainian master Usyk last September. It came a month before Fury ruthlessly disposed of Deontay Wilder in their third meeting to defend the WBC heavyweight title.
Joshua, 32, and Fury were close to putting all four major titles on the line in Saudi Arabia just 12 months ago but Fury was forced into a third fight with Wilder and then 'AJ' lost the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.
But now he gets the chance of revenge against Usyk and Fury admits he could be lured out of his claimed retirement to face the winner. Joshua is being fired up by such talk.
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He said: "100 percent. It has to be. If I sat here and told you it’s not, I’d be lying to you, myself and the world. For the fans it’s a must-win fight, the man’s retired but who knows? Retirement doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to come back.
‘I think if the opportunity presents itself, we will see if he comes back. but let me win this fight, then another door opens.’
Meanwhile, Joshua says he 'likes' Saudi Arabia and is unaware of 'allegations' against the Middle East country ahead of his rematch with Usyk taking place in Jeddah.
The former WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion will bid to regain his titles he lost to the Ukrainian last September on August 20 in Saudi Arabia. The pair will pocket in the region of £30m each after the Middle East state agreed to pay £65.4m to host the bout.
But Saudi has been accused of using high-profile sport such as boxing, football, Formula 1 and golf to 'sportswash' it's poor public image owing to human rights violations.
Joshua has already fought in Saudi having outpointed Andy Ruiz Jnr back in December 2019 in Riyadh. He was heavily criticised for that event, too.
But at the press conference on Tuesday to announce his clash with Usyk, Joshua was again questioned on the controversial decision to allow the fight to take place in Saudi Arabia.
He said: "I don't know what that [sportswashing] is. I'm here to win the heavyweight champion of the world. I like Saudi. I think Saudi's good. I'm having a good time here. I'm treated really well.
"All that allegation stuff, for me, I'm not caught up in any of that stuff. I'm here to have a good time, mix with the local people, bring entertainment to Saudi."
The comments are sure to anger Amnesty International further, the human rights group who have already called on Joshua to speak out on issues in Saudi if he is going to compete there.
Instead, Joshua feels fighting there has had a positive impact on Saudi Arabia and sport in the country. "It's positive to hear some good changes are happening here because of the impact we made," he said.
"I knew Saudi would be, as we say, lit. I knew it would be good, hospitality, cleanliness, organisation. The show was immaculate [in 2019], self-built stadium which was filled out. I feel it was phenomenal. It met my expectations and beyond.
"I'm here first and foremost to do a job – win. Everyone loves a winner. Secondly, it is to entertain. I need to entertain the spectators How we bring tourism here? I know there are some amazing projects for tourism, people can come to Jeddah to see the amazing things that are happening here for the sport."
Anthony Joshua hails himself the "comeback king" as he comes face to face with Usyk
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- Anthony Joshua
- Tyson Fury
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