LIKE Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua faced a sudden change of opponent for his next world title defence. Wilder saw Luis Ortiz fail a drug test and the WBC heavyweight champion took to social media to vent his frustrations. He will now rematch Bermane Stiverne on November 4 in New York. With less time, and less drama, when Anthony Joshua’s next foe Kubrat Pulev pulled out injured, he was simply replaced with new mandatory challenger Carlos Takam.

“No need to cry about it and say that nobody wants to fight you. Of course, we want to fight you, you’re the champion. You’re the hunted. He just needs to start thinking that way and stop feeling sorry for himself. Just keep quiet and don’t show any weakness in this game. This is heavyweight boxing. This ain’t featherweight boxing,” said Joshua, the unified WBA and IBF boss. “If Eddie [Hearn] had opponents lined up, I was definitely still going to fight. There was no point in my mind where I thought that I’m not going to compete or didn’t know what I was going to do. A real bonus is that I always work on myself in the gym so I haven’t had like 100 Pulev clones coming to the gym. I haven’t been working just solely on the style to defeat Pulev. I’ve been working on improving on my weaknesses and building on my strengths. So, when I heard I wasn’t going to be fighting him and that the next guy in line was Takam, it was like OK, cool, because I’ve still been developing myself anyways.

“You could put me with anyone. What I’ve worked on in the gym and what I’ve built myself two of these last three months, I should be able to fight anyone. I’m just happy that I don’t have to wait because it probably would have been March or April. That would have been a year out of the ring. I don’t think now is the time to be taking that much time out so I’m really grateful that the show could still go on.”

Anthony Joshua had a simple message for Deontay Wilder. “How are people going to remember you? He hasn’t had any memorable fights. He needs a real remarkable fight to stamp his name in the history books of heavyweight boxing. He needs that more right now. Especially being in America. This is the mecca of boxing. I even need it. I need Wilder to have a remarkable fight. I need to be the one that steps up to make this dream a reality. I would be honoured to go out there and compete with Wilder,” he said.

Anthony Joshua

He can foresee a unification with Wilder happening next year. “I think so. I think he’s what the division needs and I think this is what Wilder needs, so we’ll give it to them. I say it’s definitely a potential for 2018. What else am I going to do in 2018 provided that I don’t have any mandatories? I’ll be a free agent. If dealt with right with Eddie Hearn and the U.S., I think it could be built to be something just like the Klitschko fight. It should be better,” Joshua mused.

The Briton could come to America for that contest. “I think so. I could tell you a million things but the reason I’m saying that is because I do have some real professional people in the background advising me as well. I can see it happening in the U.S. If you came to Wembley on April 29, you saw what that was like. It was phenomenal. That was really good. So do we want to create that again or should we go overseas and do something new? It’s good to have options,” he said.

“I would love to fight the great champions that the United States has produced. At the same time, I’ll fight anywhere. I’m fine staying in the UK, but America’s definitely at the top of the pyramid for sure. The thing is, before I wanted to go out there for the experience but now I want to go out there and make me some money. For what fight, that’s what’s going to be interesting.”