Joshua OK Fighting Without An Audience
For the sake of doing what he loves, Anthony Joshua is willing to do whatever it takes to get back in the ring. That includes potentially not having anyone at fights to support him.
Joshua (23-1), the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO Heavyweight Champion, has not fought since December when he avenged a loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. after losing to him in June. A one-sided affair in Saudi Arabia, Joshua returned to the top of the boxing world. He is currently set to face off against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Originally for June, the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus. In a world of uncertainty, Joshua has options.
Locations for the fight have recently been an issue, as Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn has been adamant it would be better if there were crowds for a Joshua fight. The British Boxing Board of Control is looking to get the sport back in the United Kingdom by July. However, Hearn has also looked into places outside the country for a fight. Croatia has been mentioned before, as has Saudi Arabia.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Joshua gave his thoughts on the matter. He is OK fighting with nobody in the crowd.
“It’s all about growth,” Joshua stated. “I would definitely fight for the love of my sport. I’ve got that hunger in me. Even if I drop five dollars or five pounds on the floor, I’m turning back to get it. I’m never too big to earn a buck. It’s a godsend to fight for that kind of money that I do … it would be difficult to fight without the crowd there to entertain, but a win’s a win, and it goes down in history.”
Another issue when planning a bout for Joshua is the opponent. While Pulev has stated that his contract is signed and official, there are reports that Joshua could end up facing Tyson Fury right away. Fury (30-0-1) is currently set to fight Deontay Wilder in a trilogy bout. Both Wilder and Pulev are not dropping their opportunities, so a unification bout will have to wait.
In the hypothetical realm of Joshua-Fury happening, Hearn has stated that 2021 would be the time to do it. Joshua is ready and willing to fight Fury, even without a crowd. Time is special to him, and there may be a chance Joshua will never get the opportunity again.
“I would take it because if I don’t take it now, I don’t think Tyson Fury would probably be around by the time this will come around again when big hall shows are available,” Joshua went on to say. “I have to take the opportunities while they are there.”
Would you watch Tyson Fury v. Anthony Joshua without fans in the building?