Anthony Joshua issues stark call-out to critics after Oleksandr Usyk defeat comments

Anthony Joshua issues stark call-out to critics after Oleksandr Usyk defeat comments

Anthony Joshua has told his critics to say it to his face as he prepares to rebuild his career in the heavyweight division on Saturday night.

Joshua has been publicly written off by some pundits following back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. But the Londoner said those same critics were then all smiles with him in person.

The 33-year-old said he had no issue with criticism over his boxing ability but wants those with barbs to front up to him.

“If someone has got something to say to me, they can call me, they have my number,” he said. “I don’t need to go online and voice my opinions on my enemies, I prefer to be silent.

“If I have something to say about you, you will see me face to face. I will not go online or do it from behind a camera. And when these people see you at a press conferece or whatever, they go, ‘AJ, how are you mate?’ - how does that work?”

Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch was among those to criticise Joshua, claiming that he had taken his eye off the ball in his boxing career among other things. Joshua’s response was to contact his fellow Briton directly.

“When it was Froch, I messaged him direct and said, ‘What you talking s*** about me for?’ - message me,” said Joshua.

Among the critics in the wake of that second Usyk loss was Robert Garcia, one of his trainers for rematch against the Ukrainian who went on to claim Joshua “mentally defeated himself” in that fight.

 (Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
(Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)

But Joshua insisted he wouldn’t get into any slanging match with Garcia or any former trainer.

He said: “When it comes to your head coach, I think it is important to keep things in house especially when you are talking about your fighters. There are things I didn’t like about some of my old coaches that I could talk about but I don’t.

“No one is perfect but, when you come together in arms to go to war, there should be a level of respect.

“Garcia is the first one to say the things he said. And I didn’t like that, I found it weird. I am not perfect, trust me I do have tough days in camp but he went and pointed those things out, out of all the things we did in training camp.”