Joshua bullish ahead of Usyk fight

Anthony Joshua says he would fight "King Kong" if he was asked as he prepares to take on Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The WBA (Super), WBO and IBF champion defends his titles on Saturday against former cruiserweight champion Usyk.

A cordial press conference today gave way to an intense face-off before a handshake between the pair.

Joshua, 31, said: "I'm not an easy fight for anyone, I like fighting."

He added: "If you tell me I was fighting King Kong I would give it a go. This is my job.

"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.

"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.

"I love throwback fighters. I do watch a lot of boxing and I don't fight good people just to get respect. I'm going to work. It's the best days of my life."

Ukrainian Usyk, 34, was first to appear and the challenger arrived in style, dressed in a red three-piece suit and yellow tie.

Joshua was not far behind and there was a friendly hello between the duo, who have known each other since their amateur days.

Usyk, speaking through a translator, said very little, but appeared relaxed and full of confidence ahead of his bid to become a two-weight world champion after dominating the cruiserweight division.

He said: "Every fight makes history and I think me and Anthony will make another step in history, something that people will be talking about, remember and will be watching on television."

Joshua, dressed in his usual tracksuit and cap, cut a subdued figure until it was his turn to speak.

He is favourite on Saturday night with more than 60,000 fans expected at the UK's first big stadium fight since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The Watford-born fighter has one eye on an undisputed bout with WBC champion Tyson Fury next, but sent a word of warning to Usyk.

"I work hard to make sure boxing is really respected and I pay them back by putting in a lot of work in the gym," said Joshua.

"God has blessed me, shown me the path to get into boxing. I'm here, blessed, happy and don't take it for granted. This is my passion."

There was some drama during the undercard press conference, as Florian Marku clashed with defending IBF international welterweight champion Maxim Prodan.

Marku was briefly removed from the table for getting out of his seat and the Albanian then shoved Prodan during a heated head-to-head encounter.

No such fireworks for British stars Callum Smith and WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie, who were both calm during their respective face-offs with Lenin Castillo and Dilan Prasovic.