WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (19-0, 19 KOs) is one of the top stars in the world of boxing, even more so after his dramatic 11th round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko (64-5, 53 KOs) in front of 90,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium in April. Unfortunately, there won’t be an immediate rematch, as Klitschko recently announced his retirement from the sport.
Joshua’s name has frequently been in MMA headlines due to UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who has an amateur boxing background and wants to take on Joshua in the boxing ring. Would Joshua ever entertain the idea of actually competing in MMA? Yes, but with one caveat.
“I like fighting, I’d do whatever,” said Joshua. (via Sky Sports)
“I’d probably get beaten. The only thing that they can’t do is submissions, but they can kick, elbow, bite – whatever they want. Just no submissions.
“I can’t beat a guy (via submission). That takes a lot of time to learn the skills and submissions, which I don’t have the time for, but when it comes to pure aggression and fighting rules, I can definitely fight, so I don’t mind that.
“It wouldn’t be a problem. If you look at most boxers who’ve crossed over to MMA, they get beaten on the ground. James Toney, Roy Jones, they were phenomenal boxers but they just couldn’t compete in the cage because of the ‘ground and pound’ game.”
A couple of things to note here, beyond his admission that he’d most likely lose in MMA:
—Biting definitely isn’t legal in MMA, although it’s not like we haven’t seen it actually happen recently.
—Roy Jones Jr. competing in MMA is news to me. Presumably his little-known MMA background cost him when he was disqualified for hitting Montell Griffin while he was down.
Hey, Joshua could always pull a Ray Mercer and get a stunning KO over a former UFC champion.
Anyway, if you want his thoughts on Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor, he unsurprisingly thinks Mayweather wins in a “landslide,” but he did have a little more to say on this Saturday’s superfight.
“Some of the fighters Mayweather’s fought would probably beat Conor McGregor as well; Conor can’t really compete.
“He’s coming out of his field and going into Mayweather’s domain. Even though he’s an excellent fighter in UFC, he’s not an excellent boxer. Him crossing over is going to be a real, big challenge.
“He could give a good account of himself; I think Mayweather will win but as long as he [McGregor] gives a good account of himself, it’ll work really well for him.”
Joshua will most likely return in October against IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev (25-1, 13 KOs). Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, is targeting the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales as the venue.
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