Anthony Joshua labels rival fighters ‘haters’ and rants ‘they’re not my friends’

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    Anthony Joshua has branded some of his fellow fighters and ex-fighters as 'haters'.

    The Brit returned to winning ways after defeating Jermaine Franklin by unanimous decision at the O2 Arena on Saturday night. The judges scored the bout 118-111, 117-111, 117-111 in favour of the former two-time world champion as he got his career back on track after claiming his first win since 2020.

    Despite claiming a much-needed win, some boxers were not impressed with the Watford local’s performance. Former super-middleweight champion Carl Froch questioned Joshua's ability to recapture a world title, while Dillian Whyte said AJ is showing "signs of a fighter who doesn't want to do it any more".

    In response, Joshua said emphatically: “All these fighters are haters, pure haters. I don't expect them to like me, I don't like them either. There's a lot of haters out there. They're not my friends anyway." Froch, not one to shy away from speaking his mind, asked: “In the ring at world-title level he's been there, done the business, now I don't know. What motivates him?

    READ MORE: 'Anthony Joshua has lost his killer instinct – he should stop if he doesn't want to box'

    "He wants the money. I don't understand why he's fighting. I just don't. It's a dangerous sport. Money can't be the motivation when you've earned over £100million. I've not seen anything in that performance that he wants to be a world champion again."

    Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2016 and beat Franklin last November, told BBC: “Joshua has lost all his aggression and killer instincts. If he doesn't want to do it any more, I think he should stop. Every time Franklin shaped up like he was going to hit him, he hesitated. I've never seen him like that, he's a bit shell-shocked."

    Joshua controlled the majority of the fight but was unable to put his combinations together or find an opening against the resilient Franklin. Speaking at the post-fight press conference, he said: "You land one shot and the fighter is looking like they're looking to go and then you go rushing in for another shot and they're not there for the taking.

    "If I see a wounded animal, I'm going to go in for the kill. If it was the 13th round of 15, he wouldn't have survived. Mike Tyson went 12 rounds with people like Pinklon Thomas and Tony Tucker, so what's wrong with me going 12 rounds?"

    During the post-match interview in the ring, Joshua called out Tyson Fury and said it would be an honour to fight for the WBC Heavyweight title, despite negotiations breaking down for a fight late last year. Promoter Eddie Hearn insisted Joshua should be looking at another Brit to face, and it's one he has faced before.

    “Some fights are there to be made and you get one chance to do it,” Hearn told Boxing Social via the Metro. "Dillian Whyte is a great fight. He needs to get back in the ring in July [or] August at the latest if he is to get three fights in this year.”


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