Crossover fights appear to be all the rage at the minute with UFC star Conor McGregor and three-weight boxing champion Terrence Crawford the latest pair to consider mix and matching codes. With Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury also talking up a hypothetical move into the octagon in recent weeks, one heavyweight is bucking the trend.
Anthony Joshua has ruled out a move to Mixed Martial Arts at a VIP fan event at JD Sports’ flagship Oxford Street store. While at the event, the heavyweight champion heaped praise on those that compete in the UFC but claimed he wanted to master boxing first.
“I respect what they do, I’m sure they respect what we do. Until I master this game of boxing, I think I’ll be too old to cross over into MMA.”
“I’m battered and bruised, head to toe, my body, my face.
“You know, I won’t have an eye left if I get into MMA.”
At the same event, AJ also talked about the potential of training with a Premier League club in the future. Sharing a close relationship with Watford striker Troy Deeney, it appears the Hornets would be the most likely to give AJ this opportunity, close to where he grew up in Hertfordshire.
“I love football, so I’d definitely take the opportunity up if he invited me down, and he loves boxing so the door’s always open for him if he wants to come down again.”
This was Anthony Joshua’s first public appearance in 2020 as he was greeted by 150 fans at the new JD Store. It is set to be a big year for the British boxer as he won back his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight title from Andy Ruiz Jr at the tail end of 2019 and will now look to cement himself as the best heavyweight boxer on the planet.
Next up is likely to be mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev in London but with Wembley unavailable, it could be a debut fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Emirates or the London Stadium.
AJ will likely be keeping a close eye on the Fury vs Wilder rematch next month, with Eddie Hearn telling The Sportsman that Joshua fighting the winner would be "a natural fight for the sport."