It's hard being champion - Joshua knows he will always need to prove himself

By Patric Ridge 9 December 2019 4
It's hard being champion - Joshua knows he will always need to prove himself

Anthony Joshua believes he will always have to prove himself in the heavyweight division, stating it is tough to live life as a champion.

Joshua regained the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, as he recorded a comprehensive points victory over Andy Ruiz Jr in a rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Ruiz stunned Joshua in his initial victory in New York in June, as the Briton fell to the only defeat of his professional career, and the 30-year-old acknowledged he had been drained by the pressure of retaining his title.

"The belts can be your best friend or your worst enemy," Joshua, who is now expected to face one of his mandatory challengers Kubrat Pulev or Oleksandr Usyk, told reporters.

"It just depends on you as a person. Even at the weigh-in when I gave him the belts [before the first fight], I was just tired of them. It’s hard being champion. Trust me, it's not all fun.

"I just remember hearing Mike Tyson telling people 'you couldn't walk in my shoes.' It’s not all what it seems, it's a life of discipline, dedication and f*****g headaches.

"I'm always going to have to prove myself, aren't I? That’s the name of the game. Over the next three to six months, I'm going to have to do it again.

"It's no good winning this time and losing next time, saying, 'Look, I won six months ago, let’s look at that.' Even though I've proved it to myself, I'm going to have to prove it to you guys once again. I can't get too comfortable.

"But I knew the belts were coming home. They spent some time with me and they spent some time in Andy's house, and they were crying to come back to daddy."

Joshua has reportedly earned over £50million from taking the rematch with Ruiz to Saudi Arabia, though he is hoping to return to Britain for his next fight.

"I don't know, man. London's calling," Joshua said. "We've been away for the whole year, in New York and now here. But it's nice to have a breather. It’s nice to have a bit of controversy, a bit of doubt.

"I've been out here for two weeks. I was out for five weeks before [in New York], got too comfortable. Now it's back home to Finchley, back home to Sheffield, back to the grind. Being back on home soil will make a big difference."

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