Anthony Joshua declares ‘undisputed champion’ ambition as he collects OBE

Anthony Joshua declared he wants to become the “undisputed champion” by taking on Deontay Wilder, as he was honoured at Buckingham Palace.

Joshua, who won an Olympic gold medal at London 2012 and is the current IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight world champion, was presented with an OBE for his services to sport by the Prince of Wales on Thursday.

The 29-year-old also said boxing “helps people from different backgrounds” as he spoke of his desire to take on Wilder at Wembley on April 13.

Investitures at Buckingham Palace
Investitures at Buckingham Palace

Joshua, who had to watch on as WBC holder Wilder and Tyson Fury fought out a thrilling draw in Los Angeles at the start of December, said: “Every fighter is my biggest challenge. They’re definitely big challenges and I would love to fight them in the next 12 months. I would love to.”

He added that it was important to fight them within the next 12 months so he “can have a chance of becoming undisputed champion”.

Speaking of facing Wilder at Wembley in April, he said the chances of the fight happening were “50/50” and that “the reason why I’ve booked Wembley is to face Wilder, so if it’s not Wilder then I don’t know who can kind of fill that void”.

He went on: “I hope to be back there but it’s a fan sport.

“If the fans want me to fight someone and they’re interested they will come out, if they’re not interested then I’m going to end up struggling to fill Wembley.”

2018 Sport Christmas Package
2018 Sport Christmas Package

Joshua added: “Wilder, if he’s serious, then we’ll definitely keep April as the date to fight.”

Speaking about his OBE after the Buckingham Palace ceremony, Joshua said: “It’s understanding what I’ve done and I feel like in terms of services to sport it’s like creating an economy and it helps people from different backgrounds.”

Joshua, who grew up in Watford, said boxing provides opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds, adding: “In boxing you meet people, you inspire them and they do the same. You never know where it could take someone. That’s important.

“It’s not just the medal, it’s what I’ve done to achieve it.”