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Anthony Joshua has been told that the public will not forgive him if he loses to Oleksandr Usyk again on August 20. Top Rank President, Todd Duboef, believes Joshua ‘cannot afford to lose’ next month in Saudi Arabia and sees it as a ‘last hurrah’ for the Brit.
Joshua dropped his WBA (super), WBO, and IBF heavyweight titles to the Ukrainian in September on home soil as he was comfortably outpointed by ‘The Cat’ at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in front of a capacity crowd. ‘AJ’s’ do-or-die rematch will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with the whole world watching to see if he can become a three-time world heavyweight champion.
As if that pressure wasn’t enough, Duboef, claims that ‘people are not going to be as forgiving’ if he loses a second time around.
“Public opinion is this is AJ’s last hurrah. He can’t afford to lose this one again,” DuBoef told Sky Sports. He can’t afford to. People are not going to be as forgiving, he may not be as forgiving on himself. Change of trainer, change of a lot of stuff. The style obviously bothered him in the last fight. This is going to answer a lot of questions.
“With Usyk we know he’s a terrific fighter, terrific, terrific story, obviously left Ukraine during these God awful times to get prepared for the fight. A world-class boxer, the question is can he really manage the heavyweight division or did he just get the right guy? So, I think a lot of things have to be answered in the coming weeks.”
A win for either man more than likely sets up a blockbuster undisputed unification bout against WBC champion Tyson Fury, who is expected to come out of retirement to fight for all four belts. Speaking about that possibility, Duboef – who represents Fury’s US promotional outfit – said: “People have asked me that a lot. We’ve been told to stay down, Fury’s retired.
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“He hasn’t said he’s coming out of retirement. He hasn’t said anything, so what do you do? I think it kind of plays its way through. I think the result of the [Usyk-Joshua] fight is going to be a very significant piece of the whole heavyweight division.”
If Fury chooses to stay retired, then the sanctioning body rotational system will take effect in order to choose the next mandatory challenger for the unified titles. According to the current order, the WBA will be the first in line to pick a fighter with WBA (regular) champion Daniel Dubois expected to be elevated.
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