Anthony Joshua has vowed to ditch the boxing skills that carried him to victory over Joseph Parker and ‘go to war’ against the likes of Deontay Wilder.
The British heavyweight added Parker’s WBO belt to his IBF, WBA and IBO straps with a unanimous points win in Cardiff last month.
It was the first time Joshua had been taken the distance in his 21 professional fights and victory set him on course for a money-spinning showdown with Wilder for the title of undisputed champion.
Anthony Joshua (right) promises to ‘go to war’ in the future against the likes of Deontay Wilder
But after impressing many observers with his jab and footwork, AJ has promised to return to the more risky approach that brought him a remarkable run of stoppage victories.
‘I’m going to go back to fighting with my heart because even I find it boring boxing. I want to just go back to being a bit more gutter and going to war. I think that’s entertaining but it’s difficult because you don’t want to lose your belt but at the same time you want to entertain,’ he told fans at the O2 Arena on Thursday.
‘For 20 fights I catered for the knockout audience and I said for this one (Parker) I’m going to cater for the boxing experts, stick behind my jab and do it the old school way.
‘And as important as it was to capture the WBO belt, looking back I wish I knocked him out. But then it’s set up what’s to come next and I’m learning on the job and I’m going to risk it all now.’
Joshua lost weight for his fight with Joseph Parker and used speed and finesse to win
Parker, who had gone 24 fights unbeaten before facing AJ, was expected by many to provide the British fighter with the stiffest test of his career.
But AJ controlled the fight, using his height and reach to frustrate the Kiwi heavyweight in front of 78,000 supporters at the Principality Stadium.
Joshua admits talk of Parker’s speed and boxing skills left him fearing that his unbeaten run was set to end.
But the heavyweight claims the lure of a lucrative clash with Wilder helped keep him on high alert over all 12 rounds in Cardiff.
Joshua wants to unify the division with a fight against Wilder, which the fans want to see
‘When people were telling me: “Parker is quick you know, he can fight,” I was thinking: “He can, I’m going to get banged out in this fight,”‘ he joked.
‘It was a hard situation I found myself in because I was fighting (Parker) but everyone was already talking about the next two fights (Wilder and Tyson Fury) so everyone is thinking I’m going to walk through these guys. I started having pressure on myself and I didn’t want to make any mistakes.
‘I think I sacrificed my boxing entertainment, that risk-it-all mindset I had. Looking back at my last fight, I lost it in that fight because I was so focused on just boxing performance – hit, don’t get hit and control the fight – and there were times in there where I thought: “Ah let me explode on this guy” then (I thought): “Woah, woah, I have to think about Wilder next, let me get back to doing what I’m doing” and in a way it was good because now when Wilder steps up, I’m going to take it to him hard.’