If there was any residual doubt about whether British boxing duo Amir Khan and Anthony Joshua had repaired their friendship, then both have now demonstrated that their previous feud has been well and truly put to bed. The two former world champions warmly embraced each other earlier this week whilst on holiday in Dubai, with images of the meeting shared by either star on their respective Instagram accounts.
Six years ago, Khan had sensationally accused the 2012 Olympic gold medallist of engaging in an affair with his wife Faryal, a claim that was instantly and whole-heartedly refuted by Joshua. Indeed, in 2017, the Bolton-born boxer posted a set of bizarre tweets, expressing his disgust at the apparent romance between his partner and the heavyweight star. In one of these messages, he stated, ‘’Faryal moved on quick. Always mentioned to me how much she wanted to be with another guy, from all people another boxer @anthonyfjoshua’’
Joshua reacted to the allegation with a mixture of humour and incredulity, sharing the music video of Jamaican rapper Shaggy’s 2000 smash hit, ‘It wasn’t me,’ with the caption, ‘Bantz aside’, I hope you guys can resolve your situation or this is a hack as we have never even met! Plus I like my women BBW #ItWasntMe’’ The well wishes of the twice unified WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO champion, who defeated Jermaine Franklin by a unanimous points decision at the beginning of the month, appeared to have worked, with Khan and Faryal resolving their differences shortly after the dispute. Several months later, a short while before his appearance on I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Khan reached out to Joshua, again via Twitter, to confirm his original contention had actually been based on false information, ‘’@anthonyfjoshua glad is all cleared up and all lies. I got angry like any man would. No truth to it. Good to know. All the best.’’
The 36-year-old has endured a relatively turbulent period of late. Last February, Khan lost a decisive bout against long-term adversary Kell Brook, and subsequently tested positive for the prohibited substance ostarine in the immediate aftermath of the match. Although retiring three months later, the UK Anti-Doping Agency slapped him with a retrospective ban, despite Khan protesting his innocence. Should the highly-decorated welterweight opt to re-emerge from his retirement, he will be unable to enter the ring until April 2024.
Joshua has also presided over a difficult spell, losing three in five fights before overcoming Franklin at London’s O2 arena. In 2019, he suffered a bruising defeat to Californian underdog Andy Ruiz Junior, which abruptly ended a sequence of 22 consecutive wins. Prior to his marginal victory over Franklin, Joshua was put to the sword by Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk on two occasions within twelve months.
Regardless of their recent troubles, it appears two of the country’s most iconic boxers are allies once again. To further illustrate that a conclusion to this lengthy and rather pointless quarrel has been firmly drawn, Faryal, who has been wedded to Khan for almost a decade, commented on a picture of the pair using the Raised Hands emoji – it seems all parties are relieved the drama has ended.
On Tuesday 11 April, Joshua confirmed that his next fight is likely to be scheduled for December. Although his opponent remains unclear, rumours continue to circulate of a potential clash with compatriot Tyson Fury.