Anthony Joshua says Tyson Fury’s ‘big bodybuilder’ jibe got in his head in defeat to Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua admits Tyson Fury’s ‘big stiff bodybuilder’ jibe got in his head and caused him to lose his heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk as he tried to prove his rival wrong and outbox the Ukrainian maestro

  • Anthony Joshua lost his world titles in the shock defeat last September
  • Tyson Fury has often joked that Joshua was just a ‘big stiff bodybuilder’
  • The British rivals’ fight looks some way off with both lining up other opponents
  • Fury is expected to face interim champion Dillian Whyte early this year

Anthony Joshua has admitted the ‘big bodybuilder’ label given to him by Tyson Fury got in his head ahead of his heavyweight title fight against Oleksandr Usyk.

The Watford-born boxer lost his IBF, WBA and WBO belts in a shock defeat by Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

The two are expected to face off in a rematch in the spring but Joshua said the reason he lost the first fight was because he tried to outbox his opponent. 

Anthony Joshua said a stigma around him being a ‘big stiff bodybuilder’ led to his shock defeat by Oleksander Usyk, because he tried to dispel the jibe by outboxing the skilful Ukrainian

Tyson Fury is one of the main proponents of that theory and called Joshua a 'big bodybuilder'

Tyson Fury is one of the main proponents of that theory and called Joshua a ‘big bodybuilder’

‘Usyk came up from cruiserweight, he is a great fighter, a 12-round fighter,’ he told Sky. ‘And I wanted to box with him for 12 rounds.

‘There was always this stigma that I could not box, that I was this “big stiff body-builder”. 

‘So I said “cool, let me practice my boxing”. I tried practising my boxing with Usyk and it didn’t work.’

The label of ‘big bodybuilder’ is a favourite of Fury who first called Joshua it when he was responding to claims he was dodging his British rival.  

‘I’m absolutely quaking in my boots, for the big bodybuilder,’ Fury told talkSPORT.

‘I’m s***ing myself because them muscles are terrifying.

‘Listen, at the end of the day I’ve never avoided anybody in my career.’

Joshua’s rematch is not confirmed though with reports suggesting he would accept £40 million to step aside and allow Fury to fight Usyk in a unification bout.

Fury teased that his next fight will be in Saudi Arabia and his US promoter Bob Arum said the Saudi Arabia organisers want it to be a unification bout.  

If Joshua does not step aside, then a likely next opponent for Fury would be interim champion Dillian Whyte after the WBC ordered the two to begin talks.

Joshua triggered his rematch clause soon after the Oleksandr Usyk defeat

While Joshua fights Usyk, Fury could face Dillian Whyte after the WBC ordered talks to commence

Joshua triggered a rematch clause but reportedly would accept £40 million to step aside