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Britain's Anthony Joshua (L) and Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk go head to head

Boxing

Joshua says he would even fight King Kong ahead of Usyk bout

LONDON, United Kingdom, Sep 23Anthony Joshua said he would be happy to take on any opponent — even King Kong — stressing he had no intention of vacating one of his heavyweight belts in order to avoid Oleksandr Usyk.

The British boxer will put his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight belts on the line against the WBO mandatory challenger from the Ukraine in London on Saturday.

The unbeaten Usyk is a former undisputed world cruiserweight champion and could pose a tricky test for Joshua, with his skillset rated among the best in any weight category.

But Joshua maintains he is not intimidated by Usyk or any potential opponent.

“I don’t really fight good fighters because I want people to respect me or anything like that,” he said at the pre-fight press conference on Thursday.

“It’s not complicated. If you told me I was fighting King Kong I would give it a go, honestly.

“It’s an opportunity for me to work. This is my job. I’m just going to work. He’s going to work. It’s a blessing.

“These are the best days of my life. I’m not an easy fight for anyone.”

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If the 31-year-old survives his title defence against Usyk, he hopes to finally face British rival and WBC champion Tyson Fury to crown an undisputed champion.

Joshua, who intends to be back in training early next week, said: “For a fighter like myself this is just another day in camp.”

“This fight gives me the motivation to practise,” he added. “I’ve had fun in camp. It’s been demanding and challenging but we make it fun.”

– ‘Cream always rises’ –

Usyk is bidding to become the third boxer after Evander Holyfield and David Haye to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight.

The 34-year-old won heavyweight gold at the London 2012 Olympics while Joshua triumphed in the super-heavyweight division.

“I think me and Anthony are going to make another stat in history, something that people later will be talking about and people will remember,” Usyk said.

Usyk already has Joshua’s respect, regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s bout in front of an expected crowd of more than 60,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“I wasn’t on the amateur scene long enough to know much about Oleksandr, but when I turned professional I did a lot of research and I love the Ukrainian style and the Ukrainian people,” Joshua said.

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“He was fighting 10 or 12 years as an amateur before he went to the Olympics and worlds, so he is probably happy to be in this position. The cream always rises to the top.”

Dressed in an eye-catching red three-piece suit and yellow tie, Usyk insisted the larger Joshua would not have a size or power advantage, saying: “People talk a lot. They say the truth, or they don’t say the truth. It’s all talk.

“We will see on Saturday what happens. The power is not about whether someone is big or small. It’s in your spirit.”

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