Anthony Joshua has hit out at the boxing legends who ‘lost respect’ for him when he lost his heavyweight world titles
The Watford-born fighter suffered back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk and saw the boxing world turn on him for his performances.
Joshua returns to the ring for the first time since losing his WBA, WBO and IBF belts and failing to regain them as he faces Jermaine Franklin on April 1.
The 33-year-old has claimed that he is doing it for himself rather than to impress any of his boxing idols, who turned their back on him.
Speaking on his defeats, Joshua told talkSPORT: ‘It was a hard pill to swallow, and now I’m just in a place where it’s like, ‘f*** everyone, I’m doing this s*** for myself.
‘I ain’t going through that s*** anymore where I’m putting pressure on, ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do that.
‘I love this industry, I respect boxing so much, because I do it, and I know what it takes.
‘And it’s crazy to think that a lot of the legends that I admire and people that I look up to are doing podcasts now, and I can actually go online and hear what they have to say.
‘I used to do a lot of it to try and get the respect and admiration from people that I admire, and you’re kind of chasing that.
‘And when I lost the belts, I just felt that admiration and respect from the legends of the game had just disappeared with those belts.’
AJ also insisted that he is now doing what will make him happy rather than trying to appease the majority.
‘This is what I’m saying, you can’t search for it (respect),’ he said.
‘Now you have to be happy and content within yourself, and that’s what I’m going for now, what’s my advice? What’s going to make me happy?
‘One day I’m going to be a retired fighter, so I have to kind of put myself in a position, where it’s like I can’t continue to search for admiration from others, because sooner or later, I’m not going to be in that position, because I’m not going to be a fighter anymore.
‘And I think if I continue searching for that, it drives us crazy, so what I’ve got to do is find out what makes me happy, what’s in my soul? What’s in my core?’