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Anthony Joshua dreams of being champion again | 'If Francis Ngannou can drop Tyson Fury, imagine what I'd do!'

Anthony Joshua has a goal - to become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world; "It's everything," Joshua says, but to achieve it he is trying to change himself along the way; chasing that dream might still lead him to Deontay Wilder or even, eventually, the fight with Tyson Fury

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Anthony Joshua discusses his goal of becoming a three-time heavyweight champion of the world but doesn't want any distractions ahead of his clash with Otto Wallin

The dream is always there. Anthony Joshua was once a champion. He longs to be one again.

A London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, Joshua has been a heavyweight world champion twice over, and earned a staggering fortune in the process.

Yet still he's looking for something.

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New footage of Anthony Joshua's fiery clash with Jarrell Miller has emerged. Sky customers can purchase Joshua vs Wallin on TNT Sports Box Office at

In 2023 he's had to adjust. This April for the first time in six years he boxed without a world title on the line. Now he will do that for a third consecutive time when he fights Otto Wallin. That's not where he wants to be. He wants to be back at the top.

A three-time world heavyweight champion. That is his ultimate goal.

"It's everything," he told Sky Sports. "It is to become a three-time heavyweight champion. But it's also to become a dominant fighter, a better fighter. What that means is the championship will follow that."

To realise the dream he needs to change himself in the process. "I want to just become a more dominant and better fighter," he said.

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"If I go in the ring and I dominate and I'm better than my opponent, naturally the championship will be around my waist. Because I'm just better. I'm destined for that."

Ten years a pro, 14 years in the sport and the search continues.

News trainers have come in. He switched from Robert McCracken to Robert Garcia for his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk last year. Joshua travelled to America to go into camp with Derrick James for his first two fights of 2023. Now against Wallin for the first time Ben Davison will be instructing him from the corner.

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Former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder says a fight with Anthony Joshua has never been closer, as he builds up to his fight with Joseph Parker

The reinvention he believes will continue. "A coach is like a satnav, they're going to guide you to the destination. A good coach will guide you to that same destination a lot quicker. I think it's really I'm in a gym with passion and motivation to get up and get in the car and get on my journey but I've also got a good team that are helping me navigate my way to get there," he insisted.

"It's been great, honestly. It's been really good to be back home as well during this period. I've spent a long time, some people might say it's not that long but I feel it was a long, good time in America.

"The [Wallin] fight presented itself at a perfect time while I was developing in the UK. So I decided to stay put and it was a really good decision. I've learned a lot and I'm quite happy."

Being happy is not a state that would necessarily be associated Joshua's recent in-ring appearances.

He made a spectacular entrance to his first fight with Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in 2021. But looked increasingly lost as the artful southpaw let shots slice through his defences, taking away rounds and ultimately AJ's three world title belts.

He would never get them back.

With cold fury, Joshua kept Usyk under sustained pressure in their rematch last year, only for the Ukrainian to pull away once more in the closing stages of the fight and retain the unified heavyweight championship in impressive style.

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Back in 2015 Anthony Joshua knocked out Dillian Whyte with a huge uppercut after a dramatic fight that also saw a brawl between both teams at the end of round one

That contest finished with an uncharacteristic outburst from Joshua, who dumped the three title belts out of the ring and looked a picture of misery at his post-fight press conference.

Even this year, Joshua almost carried on fighting after the final bell as his bout with Jermaine Franklin came to an ill-tempered end. While he did knock out Robert Helenius with a stunning combination, he was exasperated at the criticism that it took him seven rounds to do it.

There is an expectation for him to be the wrecking force he looked to be when he rose through the ranks, won world titles and toppled Wladimir Klitschko in a Wembley Stadium classic in 2017.

But he does not want to be always chasing his old selves. He wants to be that something new.

"Now when I question myself, I say I'm going to put in the extra effort and whatever it needs to be the best version of a fighter I can be for the next coming years and I can look back and say I'm happy with the effort and the time put in," he reflected.

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Anthony Joshua seemed to ignite an old feud as he got into a war of words with Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller at the press conference for his fight with Otto Wallin

"Let's make the most of this," Joshua tells himself. "Let's focus and let's put in the work we need to put in while we're on this journey.

"Because I don't want to look back and say I wish I would have done more, when I've got the opportunity to do more right now. It's right in front of me."

Hang an Olympic gold medal around a young man's neck and it weighs a lot more than 412 grams. From that moment he was expected to become a champion.

Once he did, he was expected to remain one going into every title fight, probably right up until Usyk landed a shuddering left cross in the first round of their first fight, and the 60,000 strong stadium crowd realised it was going to be anything but a routine championship defence.

He might not have been expected to win the Usyk rematch, nor would he likely be expected to win fights with Tyson Fury or potentially Deontay Wilder.

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Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder shared an awkward hand shake at a press conference after their separate fights in Saudi Arabia were announced

But expectation remains. To be aggressive. To stop a Jermaine Franklin. To halt a Robert Helenius quicker. To be what everyone thinks he should be.

Perhaps that degree of judgement never becomes routine.

But, calm in the days ahead of another big fight, Joshua does not rail against it.

"Because they know you can," he said. "People know that we can do better. It's just that we don't see it in ourselves sometimes.

"You have to question yourself and say, you know what, I know I can do better and that's the only way.

"People see it. Sometimes people can see in you what you don't see in yourself. So you just have to see it in yourself and 100 per cent I'm starting to see it in myself. I'm pushing, I'm going to get to the next level.

"I'm quite confident in who I am and my ability. So that's all that matters to me. In terms of other people's opinion, when I look at it, everyone's going to get stick.

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Speaking on Toe2Toe, Barry Jones assesses Anthony Joshua's win over Robert Helenius

"But I rate myself. Not in an egotistical way but I'm quite humble with it and I believe self-confidence is good so I'm quite self-confident."

He's not the only person to struggle, to attempt to put together pieces of how they used to be, add something new and try not to lose themselves along the way.

Boxing, even for its most highly remunerated prizefighters, is a punishing trade.

"I don't think it's a dark industry. It's a great industry, it gives opportunity to anyone, it's not a class system or anything like that. You can be from any background and you can make your way if you're good enough," Joshua cautions.

"But you have to be smart. You're not part of an institution, in terms of a club or a company that will take care of everything.

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Anthony Joshua kept his interview as short as possible as he is fully focused while making his arrival in Riyadh ahead of facing Otto Wallin

"So you do need a level of intelligence and in terms of dangerous - you'll find out how tough you are.

"It's a tough sport for sure. People look at the fight but it's also getting through training camp. It's very challenging and gruelling. Making the right decisions outside of training camp, making sure you're doing the right things to get to the levels where you want to get to.

"You have to put a lot of time into these things if you want to get better. Some people are blessed, one in a million, and the other 999,999 aren't and you have to make sure you get everything right.

"If you want to go down that journey, you need to find out if you are one of the blessed ones or one of the ones that have to get everything right. Boxing is a great sport to find out because you ask yourself a lot of questions.

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Anthony Joshua hits back at the critics after his fight with Robert Helenius

"It's not only in the fight, it's getting to the fight, which are massive challenges as well. That's my view on it. Good team and work hard and figure out if you're one of the blessed ones that can go out for a drink and put your feet up and just turn up to the fight and beat people up. Or if you're someone that has to work extremely hard to just make small steps forward."

Joshua was gifted enough to manage to win the Olympic Games only four years after taking up the sport. That is the making of a phenomenon. But it didn't come easily. He must view himself as one of those who had to graft for his progress.

A heavyweight boxer can appear superhuman, almost literally larger than life, especially when they have racked up accolade after accolade. But boxing has a knack for making the superman look like just a man once again. The knocks are hard and the punches can bring down even the very biggest.

Deontay Wilder, a great rival whom Joshua is yet to fight, is probably the most powerful puncher in the world. Yet he knows as well as Joshua that even the most dangerous fighter is vulnerable to defeat. They all can fall.

"This is the fight business and it only takes one punch for any of us. We're all humans and that right punch can end any of us," Wilder told Sky Sports in a moment of introspection this week.

Both Joshua and Wilder fight on the same bill on Saturday, against different opponents and seem set to collide next year.

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Andy Scott, Gary Logan and Jane Couch discuss whether they think Anthony Joshua's showdown with Otto Wallin is riskier than Deontay Wilder's clash with Joseph Parker

It is though an opportunity Joshua will not dwell on. "I can't talk about that," he said. "I feel like it's going to distract me.

"I'm just trying to keep my focus. I'm not even going to let that thought enter my mind. But I think you would know where I'm going if I win this fight. But I'm focused on winning this fight.

"Great, great options but my main focus is Wallin. He's a good fighter. I don't want to take anything lightly, not even a small percent. I don't want to underestimate or take my mind off of the task ahead. I want to get this one right."

Joshua has got it wrong before. Most notoriously in 2019, when Andy Ruiz Jr was viewed as little more than a glorified tune up that was supposed to set up a richly anticipated Wilder fight.

Instead, Ruiz Jr stunned the boxing world, upending Joshua and his plans as he handed the Watford man a first professional defeat.

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Tyson Fury is not optimistic that he will ever fight British heavyweight rival Anthony Joshua.

It spun Joshua off to Saudi Arabia for the first time for a rematch, prompted a reinvention of his fighting style and the addition of two new coaches to his corner.

Losing to Ruiz Jr "was a massive lesson" but Joshua added: "I don't hold onto so much of the past, that was so long ago.

"I just see the difference between what a training camp looks like and what a fight looks like. A fight is something that's hard to explain. The way someone can push you.

"I spar three or four people at a time in training camp and then I fight one person and they're pushing me beyond the limits that I've been to before.

"So I've learned you have to be in a place internally where all you want to do is go to that place where they're going to push you and you're going to reign supreme. You can't take your mind off of that.

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UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall believes Francis Ngannou could beat Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder!

"It's hard to stay focused, like [with] the Wilder questions, and family and friends. I'm really holding myself back and saying I need to focus fully on my fight with Wallin."

A world championship represents something. Excellence. Being the best. Chasing that status could lead Joshua from Wallin to Wilder.

It could carry him to an ultimate showdown with Tyson Fury.

Fury's reputation took a knock when Francis Ngannou, a former UFC champion having his first professional boxing contest, unexpectedly dropped him. Fury though won a split decision and would remain on course for his undisputed championship clash with Usyk, now set for February 17.

When Joshua saw Ngannou put Fury down, he could not help a thought crossing his mind: "Imagine what I would do."

A familiar grin returned to Joshua's face as he flexed his biceps and spoke of the "bodybuilders," the jibe that Fury cast at him and Ngannou.

"Trust me, you know what I'm saying. You know what I'm saying," Joshua beamed. "You know what's going on, I've seen it. I know."

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Anthony Joshua jokes with his investment into Alpine's Formula 1 team he could help drivers with their reaction times and also teases a 'mega-card' against Deontay Wilder

But that is a dream for the future. He's got to fight in the present.

"Otto Wallin," he reminded himself. "That's our focus. So I'm going to end it on that.

"That's my main focus. Otto Wallin. He gave that man, Tyson Fury a good run for his money, he's a great fighter, respect to him. I'm giving him the ultimate respect, even though he doesn't deserve it but I'm giving it to him in my mind.

"Because I want to be the best version and be ready to put myself on the level I need, in order to be victorious."

Win and the dream lives on. Lose and it might just vanish once and for all.

Day of Reckoning featuring Anthony Joshua vs Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder vs Joshua Parker is live on Saturday December 23. Sky customers can purchase on TNT Sports Box Office at

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