Anthony Joshua gives brutally honest verdict on Oleksandr Usyk’s first fight ahead of rematch | Boxing | sport

Antoine Joshua weighed in on his performance in his last fight against Oleksandr Usyk. At Tuesday afternoon’s press conference in Saudi Arabia, a humble AJ admitted the Ukrainian was “breaking his ass” for a few rounds, but assured attendees that “the hunger is still there”.

“Certainly, the hunger is still there. Blips happen, things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness and consistency will always prevail,” Joshua said.

“We are still on the road to the undisputed for sure. God willing, I will perform and become a three-time world heavyweight champion. With Andy Ruiz I think a lot of people could see before the fight that things weren’t 100% [with me].

“But we take our loss like a man; if you lose, you have to stay humble. I knew I could come back and do what I had to do. The fight with Usyk, he broke my ass for a few rounds! And I also have to accept this defeat as a man, I have to be responsible.

“In the September fight, I was wrong and he was right. Simply, I have to reverse that role in August. I don’t like to complicate it too much, because there’s simplicity in genius. I’m going to keep simple things. I respect him and his job and what he has accomplished.

“If I’m with someone who’s better than me at night, I have to push myself to be better than them. That’s all he’s done really, and luckily I get a second chance.” If you know my story, you know I’m the comeback king. You can put me down, but it’s hard to hold me back.

Usyk comfortably edged Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as he claimed AJ’s WBA, WBO and IBF belts. The loss marked AJ’s second loss as a professional. His first came against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019. Like Usyk’s fight, this rematch also took place in Saudi Arabia as Joshua got stuck and headed for a historic redemption victory.

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Joshua hopes to do the same in his second fight against Usyk, but the consensus is that Joshua will have to adopt a more aggressive style if he hopes to beat his opponent. New manager Robert Garcia is expected to change Joshua’s approach to the rematch and revealed during the press conference that Joshua is adapting well.

“I want to congratulate Usyk and his team for all the success they have had. They are great people, a great team,” Garcia said.

“I have been going back and forth to England since December. I see a different Anthony now. I think he got the wrong fight, but that’s in the past, it’s happened before. Come on August 20, we’ll do what it takes. [AJ] is the taller man, he’s the stronger man, he’s got the reach advantage, so we’re going to take advantage of all of that.

“We have to be ready for anything. I think Anthony has all the tools to beat him, we just gotta get it right [we do] in the gym. I have no doubt that on August 20 he will be champion again. All the hard work he does in the gym, that motivates me too. I know how much he wants it. I want my first world heavyweight champion.

The rematch is set to take place on August 20 at the Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. According to recent reports, DAZN – which has an existing broadcast deal with Joshua and Matchroom – may have to bid against rival broadcasters to show the fight, with Saudi Arabia in full control of the broadcast rights.



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