Anthony Joshua ‘hungry, desperate’ to win his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua admitted he is “definitely hungry, definitely desperate” to become world heavyweight champion again and is looking to knock out Oleksandr Usyk in his rematch.

Joshua (24-2, 22KOs) was bested last September by his Ukrainian rival, who defied disadvantages in height, reach and weight to claim the WBA, IBF and WBO titles after a clear unanimous decision victory.

Many observers believe Joshua’s best path to victory in the return game in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20 is within the distance, using his physical superiority to disrupt Usyk’s pace.

Anthony Joshua, right, lost via unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk last September (Nick Potts/PA)

Anthony Joshua, right, lost via unanimous decision to Oleksandr Usyk last September (Nick Potts/PA)

Having bonded with new head coach Robert Garcia, Joshua hinted that this is the game plan, but the former world heavyweight champion twice refused to fan too much fire at a press conference in London.

“What happened then is in the past, I don’t really live in the past, I’m just present,” he said. “I’m going to try to compete round by round and if I follow my As, Bs and Cs, it should get me knocked out.

“Someone told me ‘you have a chance to become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.’ I said ‘it’s not where you want to be, I wouldn’t advise anyone young to go down that path’.

“You want to stay there and keep it, so I’m definitely desperate to get my hands on it. (But there is) much talk. Talk less and do more. I’m not a comedian, I’m not a person who likes big speeches.

“Let me in there and do my job, that’s my priority. I’m definitely hungry, definitely desperate, but my performance will speak volumes to the masses.”

Joshua, right, has won 24 of his 26 professional competitions while Usyk is undefeated (Nick Potts/PA)

Joshua, right, has won 24 of his 26 professional competitions while Usyk is undefeated (Nick Potts/PA)

While Joshua revealed he was worried about Usyk’s southpaw stance nine months ago, he insisted there isn’t much to enjoy despite sharing 12 rounds with the former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.

“It’s a tough, tough sport, especially fighting these southpaws – they’re a nightmare,” he added. “It is what it is, you have to dig deep, double down and not make the same mistake twice, basically.”

“Each fight is different. Until you’re in front of someone, no matter how many videos you’ve watched, looks down you’ve had or press conferences you’ve done, it’s completely different in the ring.

“Twelve rounds is good, don’t get me wrong, but it will be completely different when the bell rings, if I’m being honest. You can’t get too much out of it, you just have to be in the moment.”

Usyk won all 19 of his professional competitions and wore a blue and yellow shirt with the message ‘Colors of Freedom’ in honor of his native Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the country.

Usyk is the former undisputed world crossweight champion (Nick Potts/PA)

Usyk is the former undisputed world crossweight champion (Nick Potts/PA)

He helped in the war effort against Russia, initially jeopardizing a second fight against Joshua, before receiving special permission to defend his world titles against the Brit.

While this is Joshua’s second fight in Saudi Arabia – he avenged his only other loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 in Diriyah with a points victory – it will be Usyk’s first in the country.

Saudi Arabia has routinely been accused of human rights violations and has faced allegations of attempting to ‘sport laundering’ its reputation, but while there were no questions about the Gulf State’s reputation, Usyk seemed to indicate that money was not the determining factor. in your decision to fight. there.

“This opens up some new horizons,” he said. “I’m not fighting for money or recognition, many people want recognition so that others will remember them. But I don’t need to become the great.

“I’m just doing my job right now and I’ll keep doing it while my heart is beating. The only thing I’m on my way is to save my soul. Everything else that is happening to me is just life.”

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