Desperate Joshua clings to Fury fight despite defeat

2 weeks ago 14
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Anthony Joshua was walking backmost to his dressing room, dazed, bedraggled - helium could hardly spot retired of his close oculus - with sympathetic shouts coming from the assemblage of 66,000 who'd conscionable seen British boxing's nationalist treasure suffer his satellite heavyweight titles again.

Joshua was trying hard not to consciousness atrocious for himself. In fact, helium was already plotting however helium could decision Oleksandr Usyk successful a rematch, portion the all-English communicative of a combat with WBC champion Tyson Fury to beryllium undisputed champion was enactment connected the back-burner.

"When I was walking backmost done the tunnel, I conscionable said to myself, 'I'm acceptable to get backmost to the gym, I'm acceptable to conscionable enactment that enactment in,'" Joshua said. "Most radical aft they've finished a fight, it's like, 'Yeah, fto maine spell retired and person a spot of fun.' But my mindset is simply a spot different."

Anthony Joshua cuts a dejected fig arsenic Oleksandr Usyk celebrates (Getty)

So, aft shaking hands with Usyk and video-calling the caller champ's kids backmost successful Ukraine, Joshua got his squad to enactment connected a portion of the combat and watched it with 2 radical adjacent to him — Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora — who person besides mislaid to Usyk implicit the past 3 years.

"This isn't conscionable 1 combat and past I'm done," Joshua said. "I've got an accidental to spell backmost to the drafting board."

The video volition person been a pugnacious watch. Befuddled by warring a southpaw for lone the 2nd time, Joshua was fixed a acquisition successful question and punching velocity by an undefeated 34-year-old hostile who demolished allcomers successful the cruiserweight part and — aft conscionable 3 fights astatine heavyweight — already owns 3 of the 4 large belts successful boxing's bluish riband category.

To Joshua's promoter, Eddie Hearn, Usyk is the 2nd champion pound-for-pound combatant successful boxing.

"Anthony could person swerved that combat easy. Maybe we should have," Hearn said. "But that's not truly what he's about.

"You've got radical who volition instrumentality casual options and you've got radical who volition take to combat everybody. And the second is AJ."

Oleksandr Usyk looks connected arsenic Anthony Joshua stumbles (Getty)

So, Joshua volition "100 per cent, 110 per cent" trigger the rematch clause that was portion of the deal.

Hearn said it volition instrumentality spot successful February oregon March, hopefully successful Britain and astir surely not successful Kiev - the preferred determination for Usyk contempt his fearsome estimation arsenic a roadworthy fighter.

Joshua's coach, Rob McCracken, deliberation helium knows however his antheral tin adjacent the spread connected Usyk and debar getting successful the benignant of concern that saw him hanging connected the ropes by the extremity of Saturday's fight, connected the extremity of a pummeling successful his ain backmost yard. He surely would person gone down had the last doorbell not sounded.

"You've got to use unit down your jab and your close hand, support him off-balance and enactment your shots unneurotic erstwhile you get there," McCracken said.

Easier said than done.

Usyk volition commencement arsenic favourite successful the rematch — Hearn said that, and Joshua didn't disagree — and is blessed with specified endowment and pedigree that he'll beryllium assured of outboxing his chap Olympic golden medalist from 2012 erstwhile again.

It was immoderate performance, successful lone his 3rd heavyweight fight, successful specified a fevered ambiance and against a two-time satellite champion. By the end, helium was bullying the younger Joshua — a antheral with a chiseled vantage successful height, value and scope - and won comprehensively connected each 3 of the judges' scorecards.

Oleksandr Usyk punches arsenic Anthony Joshua (Getty)

"It is the biggest combat successful my vocation but it wasn't the hardest one. That is up of us," Usyk said.

Before that — and Joshua present has the payment of a combat against the slippery and crisp Usyk successful the representation slope — Usyk wants to spell location and "live" a elemental beingness for a while.

"I privation to instrumentality my kids to school, I privation to works trees, I privation to h2o pome trees, I privation to spot my woman much often," helium said.

He'll instrumentality location to a hero's reception - Usyk is already a large woody successful Ukraine - and enactment the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles alongside his heavyweight golden medal from the 2012 Olympics, the portion of hardware helium inactive treasures much than immoderate other.

And Joshua? The fashionable Londoner conscionable went done his astir chastening acquisition successful the ring, outclassed alternatively than amazed similar helium was successful the stunning nonaccomplishment to Andy Ruiz Jr. successful 2019.

For that reason, the betterment process volition beryllium antithetic and he'll person to reassess his approach. That mightiness besides mean looking astatine his ringing walk.

Whereas Usyk was each concern connected his mode to the middle, Joshua mightiness person been excessively relaxed, high-fiving fans and adjacent cutting distant to hug an aged look from his boyhood boxing club.

It's each portion of the Joshua Show - helium continues to merchantability retired large venues, the latest being Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — but that has been blown disconnected course, on with different Tyson Fury showdown.

"The roadworthy to undisputed and each that stuff, it's good. As I said, I'll combat Tyson Fury, Wilder, without the belts," Joshua said.

"The belts are fun. It's great, it's legacy. But with oregon without the belts, I'll combat whoever. The roadworthy to undisputed is simply a bully rubric to person and a bully rubric to chase.

"But would you inactive ticker it, without the belts? That's the main happening - is you've got 2 competitory fighters successful the ringing from UK soil, that conscionable privation to spell toe-to-toe."

It's not over. Joshua is lone 31 and is excessively bully — and lucrative — a combatant for Hearn to springiness up on.

"Maybe AJ gave (Usyk) excessively overmuch respect, peculiarly successful the aboriginal portion of the fight," Hearn said.

"I don't cognize if helium (Usyk) tin beryllium overmuch better. I anticipation helium can't … I deliberation helium boxed the cleanable fight. Can helium bash it again? Maybe helium tin rise his game, but possibly helium can't container to that level again. AJ will, I committedness you, beryllium much, overmuch amended than that successful the rematch."

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