'Reality' sets in for Joshua who says he's come to terms he'll never be an undisputed champion

Anthony Joshua has conceded that he does not have enough time remaining in his career to secure the long-held ambition that he began his professional career with — becoming an undisputed world heavyweight champion. 

"It won't happen anymore," Joshua told TNT Sports. "I think it's just the reality."

The former unified champion Joshua turned professional following his success at the London 2012 Olympics, was fast-tracked into stardom, and became one of the major financial powerhouses of the sport.

He's been close to fulfilling his career-long ambitions, but a big-money and potentially legacy-securing fight against Deontay Wilder never materialized, and neither did a long-awaited bout versus Tyson Fury.

Joshua surrendered his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in September, 2021 — with Usyk now progressing to the undisputed title shot himself against Fury in February.


Speaking to TNT Sports, Joshua said he has come to terms with the reality that his ambition of becoming an undisputed champion is most likely over, and believes that he does not have enough time remaining in the sport to accomplish the undisputed champion goal. 

“What will happen is that Usyk and Fury are now in a position to compete for the undisputed, and once they compete for the undisputed, the belts will get split up again,” said Joshua.

“And I feel it would probably take me about five to six years to go through and get all the belts and beat all the independent champions. That will probably take me on to being 40-41, so it’s probably not in my timeframe.”

This realization dawned on him when he famously threw one of Usyk's belts out of the ring during a viral outburst, he said.

“You saw that after the (second) Usyk fight," he said. "I wasn’t in the undisputed race anymore, I wasnt the champion. That was something that I can not explain. Something comes over you; it is passion and emotion, a lot of emotion. I got over that. It’s no longer part of my plan anymore, so what is next?”

Joshua will return on December 23rd in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, against Otto Wallin, headlining the ‘The Day of Reckoning’ card as part of Turki Al-Sheikh’s Riyadh Season.

Wilder features on the card and faces former WBO world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker. If both Joshua and Wilder are successful, they will go head to head in a heavyweight blockbuster encounter, which is anticipated for March of 2024 in Saudi Arabia.