ANTHONY JOSHUA has revealed the ‘toughest opponent of his career’ – and it’s not Andy Ruiz Jr or Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua, 32, was flipped in his first meetings with both men when Ruiz KO’d him in their showdown at Madison Square Garden in June 2019.
Skilled southpaw Usyk coached AJ in their clash with Tottenham last September but Brit believes retired Wladimir Klitschko was the toughest nut to crack.
He recalled: “The toughest opponent I’ve ever come across would be Wladimir Klitschko – definitely.
“The demise of the guard. The young lion versus the old lion. When I fought him I thought it was definitely too soon, but it was his last fight.
“If I hadn’t fought him back then, it would have been too late. It was risk versus reward and I thought boxing needed it.”
Joshua was knocked down in the sixth round of his 2017 Wembley war against Klitschko but rallied to earn an 11th-round stoppage.
He said of the fight: “Sometimes lack of experience makes it harder for us than sometimes it has to be.
“He definitely had more knockouts on his tally than I had fights and knockouts combined. He’s experienced and very strong and it was a tough fight.
“Before this period I was KOing guys in six rounds and seven rounds.
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“Wladimir cost me 11 laps in a place I’ve never been before. He was definitely my strongest.”
Joshua is currently preparing for a high-stakes rematch with Usyk, which is set to land in Saudi Arabia.
July 23 is the planned date for the couple’s desert dusting, but promoter Eddie Hearn recently revealed it could be postponed if the deals aren’t signed by the end of the week.
He said: “There’s no issue now but if it’s not announced next week it could be delayed for a week or two.
“The fight is definitely happening, the 23rd is the date everyone agreed on and everyone agrees on. If we come to an agreement next week, everything will be fine.
“The date of the fight and the time of training are not the issues, it’s more about the added commitments of television, press conferences and advertising.
“Eight weeks off feels fine, but once you get to seven and six, it’s a problem.
“Both fighters know that if we have to do a media tour, it has to be done in the next 10-14 days. On top of that, we have to push it back a week or two.
“If we go on July 23 we are nine weeks away and have to announce next week it has to be next week.
“They’re going to want us to do a media tour, we’d have to go to the Middle East and London, maybe even New York, so we really need to announce that next week.”
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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5395910/anthony-joshua-toughest-opponent-boxing-news/ Anthony Joshua reveals his ‘toughest opponent’ isn’t Oleksandr Usyk or Andy Ruiz Jr despite losing to both boxers