Anthony Joshua has dismissed recommendations he may retire from boxing ought to he lose to Oleksandr Usyk once more on Saturday evening.
Joshua, 32, was comprehensively overwhelmed by Usyk in London last September as he suffered just the second defeat of his professional career, losing his IBF, WBO and WBA titles in the process.
He has the chance to reclaim those belts and reposition himself back at the summit if heavyweight boxing in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
But another defeat, a third in five fights, could see him fade from the world title picture.
Given the stakes, some within boxing have claimed another defeat to Usyk could force Joshua into retirement, with former world champions Carl Froch and Johnny Nelson among those suggesting the Briton could walk away.
But Joshua has no intention of hanging up his gloves anytime soon.
‘I’m not thinking about retirement,’ Joshua said. ‘I’ve got one of the biggest fights of my life coming up and, if I was thinking about retiring, it would be a massive doubt in my mind.
‘People will always ask questions. But I still want to continue. I love it. I’m competing with pound-for-pound fighters. If I was losing to some has-been, then, yes.
‘But it’s crazy to talk about retiring when I lost to one of the best fighters in the world. What sort of nonsense is that? I respect people’s opinions, but I don’t want to retire.
‘This is my 12th consecutive world title fight and, because this is world level, you’re up against world-level quality opponents. This is my third Olympic gold medallist, but we are here to entertain.’
Usyk has considerably bulked up for his second showdown with Joshua and while the Ukrainian was coy on his weight during Wednesday’s press conference, he is expected to come in far heavier this weekend.
But Joshua, who was criticised for not making the most of his superior strength and size last September, has warned that won’t be enough.
‘If you’re a puncher, punchers aren’t made, they’re born,’ Joshua told Sky Sports News.
‘Bulking up, it’s probably to help you absorb more punishment. Lifting weights and all that doesn’t really make you a puncher. But it may help you absorb more punishment.’
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