Anthony Joshua has reacted positively to criticism from Deontay Wilder, saying it proves he is still relevant in the heavyweight division.
The WBC heavyweight champion said he has “lost all respect” for Joshua this week and repeated his claim that the Brit “quit” in his seventh-round knockout defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr at New York’s Madison Square Garden in June.
The loss cost Joshua his IBF, WBA and WBO championship belts. Joshua will rematch Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
When asked by reporters about Wilder bringing up his name, Joshua responded: “That’s what he’s supposed to do though, this is the heavyweight division.
“If he isn’t calling my name, I’m saying, ‘Eddie [promoter Eddie Hearn], why ain’t my name being mentioned?’
“Wilder’s one of the best heavyweights in the division, I want to be alongside these guys, he wants to be alongside me. That’s where we’re all supposed to be as heavyweights.”
At the press conference in New York to publicise the Ruiz Jr rematch, Joshua said he has the experience to overcome the shock loss.
“In my short 11-year career, from the amateurs to the pros, I’ve seen a lot. I wouldn’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve definitely seen a lot,” he said.
“There were times when I faced defeat as an amateur. My third fight. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now. I lost in the European Championship quarter-finals. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now.
“I lost in the World Championship finals. Imagine I stopped then, there would be no now. Stopping isn’t in my DNA. As long as I have breath, I will keep fighting for the passion of boxing and more so as an ambassador for championship-level fighting. That’s where I belong.
“I was born with a fighting spirit. I know how to fight. People say, ‘You lost your titles’. I say, ‘To lose something is to never get it back’. I have a second chance on December 7. I didn’t have a warm-up fight, I’m not gun-shy.”
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