Joshua: I suspected Klitschko would retire

Anthony Joshua says he had a suspicion that Anthony Joshua would retire, rather than fight again for the world heavyweight title.

Joshua was expected to face Klitschko in a rematch in November after the British fighter prevailed in their first encounter at Wembley Stadium, in April.

However, Klitschko announced his retirement earlier this month, with IBF and WBA champion Joshua disappointed – yet not surprised – by that decision.

"In my heart of hearts I kind of knew he probably wouldn't fight again," said Joshua.

"He was saying how obsessed he was with becoming heavyweight champion of the world again.

"If you fail at the first hurdle, you go again. I was ready for a rematch, making it clear that if he wants to go again, we'll go again.

"With Klitschko, we weren't hearing too much, so I just thought he was 50-50, but I had a feeling he might not fight again."

With Klitschko now out of the heavyweight picture, Joshua has been ordered to face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev by December 2, if he wants to keep his IBF belt.

He must also agree to lock horns with Cuba’s Luis Ortiz or risk losing his WBA strap.