Anthony Joshua would back Cristiano Ronaldo in a fight against Lionel Messi because of the Real Madrid superstar’s superior physical condition.
Ronaldo and Messi have been rivals at the pinnacle of the footballing world for the best part of a decade – sharing the last nine Ballon d’Or awards between them.
But while Barcelona’s Messi leads the way in that department, winning five to Ronaldo’s four, Joshua believes the Portuguese would have the edge in the boxing ring.
Joshua told YouTube channel COPA90: ‘Messi’s got that ruggedness but Ronaldo looks like he’s got the Bruce Lee – bang!
‘You know what I mean, just stand there and lick you with one hook and you’re finished. Messi seems a bit more like his name… messy and rugged’.
World heavyweight champion Joshua also spoke of his appreciation for Ronaldo’s professionalism, revealing that he was inspired by the Real Madrid man’s work ethic and how he has marketed himself.
‘I’ve been pro now for three years, and I think early on I was trying to do everything because with boxing I come into the game as a professional,’ Joshua added.
‘Remember I haven’t had much background, so I had to present myself to the world – so for the first three years I was managing, managing, marketing and marketing.
‘But now I’m at a stage where I’ve just said I’ve done that, now I want to focus on being the best boxer then I get the inspiration from Ronaldo.
‘It’s just little things. He would train by himself afterwards to work on what he wanted to work on.
‘I was speaking to [Ronaldo’s former Manchester United team-mate Rio] Ferdinand who said he was the only one in the team back then who had masseuses, nutritionists, psychologists, so he had that desire.’
Joshua also revealed that the one footballer he’d like to go up against in the ring would be Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
When pressed for an answer, Joshua explained he would choose to take on the Ivorian powerhouse because ‘he’s a bit of a beast’.
Joshua will face Bulgarian fighter Kubrat Pulev on October 28 in Cardiff with his unified IBF, WBA and IBO heavyweight titles on the line.
While Messi retains the edge in terms of Ballon d’Or triumphs, Ronaldo claimed the 2016 award and looks certain to repeat in 2017 after Madrid won both the Champions League and La Liga last season.