I pray my opponent will be safe - Joshua dismisses Wilder's sick jibe

Anthony Joshua revealed he prays for the welfare of every man he boxes after heavyweight rival Deontay Wilder crudely claimed "I want a body on my record".

Joshua added Joseph Parker's WBO crown to his WBA and IBF titles in Cardiff on Saturday, prevailing via a wide unanimous decision victory having been forced to go the 12-round distance for the first time in his unblemished 21-bout career.

Unbeaten American Wilder holds the WBC portion of the heavyweight championship and clamour for a showdown to crown the division's first undisputed ruler since Lennox Lewis in 1999 was palpable after the contest at the Principality Stadium.

Wilder was seemingly unimpressed by Joshua's showing as he posted on social media afterwards but comments he made beforehand have commanded unwelcome attention.

Speaking to the Breakfast Club morning show on New York radio station Power 105.1 FM, the 32-year-old stated a vulgar ambition of wanting to kill an opponent when he is in fight mode.

"I want a body on my record. I want one, I really do," said Wilder, citing his ring nickname and alter ego as an unsatisfactory explanation.

"That's the 'Bronze Bomber,' he wants one. I always tell people, when I'm in the ring, like I'm the 'Bronze Bomber.' Everything about me changes."

A WBC disciplinary committee is set to look into Wilder's outburst, which Joshua attempted to address diplomatically after victory over Parker.

"I don't condone that but each to their own - it's the same as with the judges and the refs, it's not my job to talk about what they do," he said.

"Wilder is Wilder, that's what you're going to get. That's what he wants to do.

"I wouldn't want a body on my record. I say my little prayer in the corner [before a fight], I pray for success and I pray for [my opponent's] health and I pray he'll be safe once he leaves the ring."

Fears of the worst-case scenario in a sport of harsh realities are never far from the surface.

In the chief support bout in Cardiff, Joshua's compatriot David Price was brutally and chillingly knocked out by Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin.

The popular Liverpudlian received medical treatment on the canvas and was soon on his feet, but such moments are always anxious ones.

The proceeds from tickets for Joshua's weight-in on Friday were donated to the family of Scott Westgarth, the 31-year-old English boxer who died from injuries sustained during a light-heavyweight victory over Dec Spelman last month, and the unified heavyweight champion explained he sought out Parker's mother after inflicting her son's first professional loss.

"I made sure I spoke to Parker's mum before she left and said, 'Pat your son on the back, he'll be back'. That goes a long way," he added.

"Why would I want to kill her son in the ring? Each to their own but, for me, that's not who I am."

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