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Anthony Joshua  to retire  if he loses to Franklin

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Ahead of this weekend’s bout at the O2 Arena, Anthony Joshua has said that he will retire from boxing if he loses against Jermaine Franklin.

The two-time world champion is making his return to the ring this weekend to face the American heavyweight after successive defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua will be looking to win his first professional fight since December 2020 but has admitted he will step away from boxing if he loses a third successive bout.

“I will. I will retire if I lose. I’m not here to battle people. If people want me to retire I will retire,” he told MailOnline.

“I’m not going to fight if people don’t want me too. It’s not even about the money. It’s about the competitor in you. That’s what’s important.

“It [pressure] comes with the business and it comes with the territory, I know that.

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“I know when I am retired, I am gonna be chilling. I’m gonna be thinking f**k everyone. I am done.

“You lot put so much pressure on me so when I am done, the chains are going to be gone. I am going to be laughing and loving life.”

Lawrence Okolie has sparred with Anthony Joshua before and knows the former world champion well.

Although Joshua may be under pressure against Franklin in this next fight, Okolie believes he can handle it.

“He’s been in high-pressure situations for a long, long time,” Okolie told Sky Sports News.

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“That’s 10 plus years now [since his Olympic Games]. We spoke this weekend, he’s in good spirits. He’s feeling strong, fit and he’s done a lot of sparring. So I don’t want to speak for him but I expect to go in there and put on a great show.

“This is world-class boxing so I don’t expect him to necessarily go and get it done in one round. But I expect him to win in impressive fashion.”

Former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson expects Joshua to beat Franklin but thinks the 33-year-old should retire if he loses.

“I’d expect Anthony Joshua to get it done. But Jermaine Franklin is 29 years old, (has had) 22 fights, won 21, stopped 14 of his opponents and in his last fight against Dillian Whyte people say he should have won. But that’s questionable,” he said.

“My big question is this: Anthony Joshua, after losing two fights on the bounce, has had to relook at his confidence to think ‘who am I, do I belong here, do I want this?’

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“For Anthony Joshua that’s everything. Because he’s had to go through a bit of turmoil, mentally, emotionally and come to terms with the fact that he’s no longer the best fighter, officially, in the world.

“He’s got to get in the queue again like everybody else. If Anthony Joshua loses, he jacks it in. If he doesn’t jack it, he should jack it. Because it’s a hard mountain to climb.

“Especially when you’ve had the success and the heights that he’s had. So he can’t afford to lose. That’s a must. Then from that, it’s confidence building.”

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Boxing

Usyk considering stepping down to cruiserweight after Fury rematch

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Undisputed heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk said he may return to the cruiserweight division following his rematch with British heavyweight Tyson Fury later this year.

Usyk – now the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO champion – defeated Fury by split decision in a thrilling contest at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh to become undisputed heavyweight champion.

The Ukrainian was previously the undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 2019.

“I think maybe after the rematch, I am going to go down in weight to cruiserweight. I want more cruiserweight,” Usyk said in an episode of the ‘3 Knockdown Rule’ podcast released on Wednesday.

“Maybe I can be undisputed for a second time in the cruiserweight division, it’s my plan. When I start to prepare for my training camp (as a heavyweight), I have to eat all the time. For me it’s hard, I don’t like it.”

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Usyk, 37, is the first undisputed heavyweight champion since the end of Lennox Lewis’ reign in April 2000. He will face Fury in a rematch on Dec. 21 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. REUTERS

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Usyk-Fury heavyweight rematch set for Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia

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The heavyweight rematch between undisputed world champion Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury will take place on Dec. 21 in Saudi Arabia, according to the advisor who organizes boxing events in the kingdom.

Turki Alalshikh, chairman of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority, confirmed the date of the fight on X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday. He said it will take place in Riyadh, the location of the first fight on May 19.

“The world will watch another historical fight again,” he wrote. “Our commitment to boxing fans continues … We hope you enjoy it.”

Usyk became the first undisputed heavyweight champion since 2000 when he defeated Fury by split decision, earning a narrow win on two scorecards. The 37-year-old Ukrainian is the first heavyweight to hold every major title belt since Lennox Lewis.

It was Fury’s first loss as a professional.

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-AP

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Furious Fury to clash again with Usyk in October

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All hope is not lost for Tyson Fury who lost his WBC heavyweight championship belt to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia early this Sunday morning.

Both boxer had agreed before the unification bout that the loser of their fight would be eligible to trigger a rematch.

Owing to the two-way rematch clause, there will be a second showdown. As for a date, nothing is set in stone. The hopeful Saudi boxing chief Turki Alalshikh confirmed that a rematch is likely to go ahead on 12th/13th October 2024, not taking into account exceptional circumstances such as injuries or unforeseen events.

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