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Joshua loses tug-of-war vs LIGER as boxing hero has zoo trip with football icon

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ANTHONY JOSHUA might want to avoid the re-match claws – after losing a tug of war with a LIGER.

The boxer even posed with an “I lost” sign as he reassured the rare hybrid of a lion and tiger that it was the king of the rumble.

Anthony Joshua strained seriously but still came a distant second in his one-one-one with the liger at the exclusive zoo

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Anthony Joshua strained seriously but still came a distant second in his one-one-one with the liger at the exclusive zooCredit: The Mega Agency
The extremely-rare hybrid proved it was the best of the beast

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The extremely-rare hybrid proved it was the best of the beastCredit: The Mega Agency
The boxer did the zoological equivalent of throwing in the towel

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The boxer did the zoological equivalent of throwing in the towelCredit: The Mega Agency
Joshua joined the cub for some up-close feeding time

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Joshua joined the cub for some up-close feeding timeCredit: The Mega Agency
Ex-footballer Alessandro Del Piero, who won 91 Italy caps, was with his family when he too challenged the liger in another mismatch

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Ex-footballer Alessandro Del Piero, who won 91 Italy caps, was with his family when he too challenged the liger in another mismatchCredit: The Mega Agency
There's nothing for AJ to feel grizzly about as he warmed up for what could be a spectacular year in the ring with a touching bear encounter

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There’s nothing for AJ to feel grizzly about as he warmed up for what could be a spectacular year in the ring with a touching bear encounterCredit: The Mega Agency

AJ was visiting a Dubai zoo, along with Italian football legend Alessandro Del Piero, when he took on his unlikeliest opponent ever.

The Brit, who won all three comeback fights in 2023, must soon start preparing for a bout with UFC icon Francis Ngannou, probably in March.

Many believe that’s a strange route to proving he is the top cat of boxing – but it’s nothing compared to his latest method of relaxing.

The ex-world heavyweight champion grinned but gritted his teeth as he pulled on a rope – with a huge liger at the other end.

There are thought to be fewer than 100 of the animals in existence, reportedly all in captivity.

It’s the offspring of a male lion and female tiger, making it the largest cat in the world.

And when this specimen got its teeth into one end of the rope, it was too strong for the weight and straining hands of Joshua at the other end.

Needless to say, ex-Juventus striker Del Pierro went the same way as AJ when he followed suit in his own tug of war with the liger.

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All in all, it was no surprise when Joshua looked more confident elsewhere at the Fame Park zoo, especially when he bottle-fed a baby lion.

The 34-year-old – a guest of Dr Saif Belhas, the billionaire owner of the invitation-only venue – was also pictured hand-feeding a bear, holding a sloth and draped with a massive python.

But he’ll hope setting up a clash with the winner of February’s bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury proves less slippery.

Joshua could only smile as he succumbed to defeat vs the liger

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Joshua could only smile as he succumbed to defeat vs the ligerCredit: The Mega Agency
Away from the liger, AJ found it less stressful with other animals at the zoo, including some slightly large but nevertheless still big cats

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Away from the liger, AJ found it less stressful with other animals at the zoo, including some slightly large but nevertheless still big catsCredit: The Mega Agency
Joshua also posed with a python, having snaked back into contention at the top of heavyweight boxing with three straight wins

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Joshua also posed with a python, having snaked back into contention at the top of heavyweight boxing with three straight winsCredit: The Mega Agency
Azzurri icon Del Piero, known for his super-fast finishing, was happy to be snapped with a sloth, known for its super-slow lifestyle

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Azzurri icon Del Piero, known for his super-fast finishing, was happy to be snapped with a sloth, known for its super-slow lifestyleCredit: The Mega Agency

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