Anthony Joshua broods as new champion Oleksandr Usyk seeks a simple life
Anthony Joshua was walking back to his dressing room, dazed, disheveled _ he could barely see with his right eye _ with sympathetic cries from the crowd of 66,000 who had just seen Britain’s national boxing treasure lose their world titles again heavy weights.
Joshua tried not to feel sorry for himself. In fact, he was already planning how he could defeat Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch.
“When I walked back into the tunnel I was like, ‘I’m ready to go back to the gym, I’m ready to do this work,” Joshua said. “Most people after you finish a fight it’s like , ‘Yeah, let me go out and have some fun.’ But my state of mind is a little different. ”
So, after shaking hands with Usyk and phoning the new champion’s children in Ukraine, Joshua asked his team to film the fight and watched it with two people close to him – Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora _ who have also lost to Usyk in the past three years.
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“It’s not just a fight and then I’m done,” Joshua said. “I have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board. “
The video will have been a difficult watch. Puzzled by fighting a southpaw for just the second time, Joshua received a lesson in movement and punching speed from an undefeated 34-year-old opponent who demolished all comers in the cruiserweight and _ division after just three fights at heavyweight – already owns three of the four major belts in the boxing blue ribbon category.
For Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn, Usyk is the second-best fighter for the pound in boxing.
“Anthony could easily have swerved in this fight. Maybe we should have, ”Hearn said. “But that’s not really what it is.
“You have people who will take easy options, and you have people who will choose to fight everyone. And that last one is AJ. ”
So Joshua will trigger the “100%, 110%” rematch clause that was part of the deal.
Hearn said it would take place in February or March, hopefully in Britain and almost certainly not in Kiev – Usyk’s favorite spot despite his formidable reputation as a road fighter.
Joshua’s coach Rob McCracken believes he knows how his man can close the gap on Usyk and avoid getting into the kind of situation that saw him hanging on the ropes at the end of Saturday’s fight, after a blow to the back. Court. He would surely have come down if the final bell hadn’t rung.
“You have to apply pressure behind your jab and your right hand, keep it off balance and collect your shots when you get there,” said McCracken.
Easier said than done.
Usyk will start as the favorite in the rematch – Hearn said so, and Joshua didn’t disagree – and is blessed with such talent and pedigree that he’ll be confident he can take his compatriot out again. 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
It was performance, in only his third heavyweight fight, in such a feverish atmosphere and against a two-time world champion. In the end, he was intimidating young Joshua – a man with a distinct advantage in height, weight and reach – and won overall on all three judges’ scorecards.
“It’s the biggest fight of my career, but it wasn’t the hardest. It’s in front of us, ” Usyk said.
Before that _ and Joshua now has the advantage of a slippery, sharp Usyk fight in the memory bank – Usyk wants to go home and “live” a simple life for a while.
“I want to take my kids to school, I want to plant trees, I want to water apple trees, I want to see my wife more often,” he said.
He will return home for a hero reception – Usyk is already a big deal in Ukraine – and put the WBA, WBO and IBF titles alongside his 2012 Olympics heavyweight gold, the material he always cherished more than any other. .
What about Joshua? The popular Londoner has just had his most punishing experience in the ring, outscored rather than surprised as he was in the astonishing loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
For this reason, the recovery process will be different and he will have to re-evaluate his approach. It could also mean watching his step in the ring.
While Usyk was all on his way to the middle, Joshua was perhaps too relaxed, high profile fans and even cut out to kiss an old face from his childhood boxing club.
It’s all part of The Joshua Show – it continues to sell big venues, the latest being the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium _ but that has been swept away, along with the all-English tale of a fight with WBC champion Tyson Fury to be the undisputed champion.
It is not over, however. Joshua is only 31 and too good – and lucrative – a fighter for Hearn to give up.
“Maybe AJ gave (Usyk) too much respect, especially at the start of the fight,” Hearn said.
“I don’t know if he (Usyk) can be much better. I hope he can’t. I think he boxed the perfect fight. Can he do it again? Maybe he can raise his playing level, but maybe he won’t be able to box at that level anymore. AJ will be, I promise you, much, much better than that in the rematch. ”
Anthony Joshua insisted he was ready and willing to take on any challengers ahead of his world heavyweight title clash against Oleksandr Usyk, saying: “If you told me I was fighting King Kong…