Joshua gives Klitschko rematch deadline

Little over three months after the biggest win of his career, Anthony Joshua is eager to do it all again as he revealed the date of his next training camp, thus giving Wladimir Klitschko a tight deadline to agree to a rematch.

The initial bout on April 29 saw Joshua stun the former heavyweight king in front of 90,000 fans at Wembley in what was dubbed one of the most exciting heavyweight fights since the glory days of 1990s.

The Independent revealed last month that Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn flew out to Las Vegas with his manager Freddie Cunningham to discuss staging the money-spinning rematch on the famous Sin City strip.

Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, which will host the circus of Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor later this month, is likely to be the destination should Klitschko accept the rematch, ahead of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium or a possible fight in Nigeria, the birthplace of Joshua’s mother.

If the 41-year-old Ukrainian does decide to retire instead of one final shot at regaining the WBA and IBF titles he lost to Tyson Fury two years ago, Joshua will be left to fight his mandatory challenger for the straps, Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev.

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“I hope we can put a seal on it before the end of the month,” Joshua said. “If we fought November 11, starting August 22 is a three-month camp, so towards the end of the month, one way or the other (I’m expecting to know), because I’ve got to crack on.

“It was just fun, it was just entertaining. I’d do it again, definitely. And going to Vegas opens the door for the (WBC champion Deontay) Wilder fight.”

“(Klitschko’s) not going to top what he’s already done but for 10 years people said he was boring because he was so dominant, but he got a lot of respect in defeat, so that should give him a real motivation (for a rematch).

“He’s got another chance to do it. I’d do it if I was him.”

Klitschko sent Joshua to the canvas for the first time in his career in their original fight and, immediately following the defeat, suggested he has himself to blame for a second consecutive loss by not keeping the pressure on the 27-year-old.

Joshua called those claims about his drop in the sixth round as “nonsense”, though, and instead repeated the admission of Klitschko’s late trainer Manny Steward, that the heavyweight lacks “killer instinct”.

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“There’s a lot more to it than ‘I let him off the hook; that’s the only reason he beat me, I took my foot off the gas’,” Joshua added. “That’s nonsense. He’s been champion for 10 years, he knows better than that, so that’s not a good enough excuse.

“You have to have a killer instinct. No matter what people tell you, sometimes you’ve got to do it your way. Maybe Wladimir came up short for those reasons.

“Maybe it’s protecting his reputation. I can believe he said to himself ‘Cool, I’ve got him hurt, I’m going to get him out in three rounds but I need to gain my energy back because I’m too tired’.

“(But) he was cautious: he knows that if he comes steaming in he’s going to get knocked out himself, he was jittery, he was tired as well. There’s a lot more to it. It’s not that he let me off the hook: I don’t think I gave him an opportunity to finish me.”

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