Image source: Matchroom Boxing
On Saturday, Anthony Joshua went face to face with Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch for his heavyweight titles to a second loss.
The two fought out in a clash of the titans which saw the 35-year-old Ukrainian defend his title.
In a 12-round contest, Usyk remained largely consistent in his efforts to retain his title with a split decision.
Joshua threw everything in his arsenal to overthrow Usyk, who managed to stand his ground and counter with a series of heavy blows.
In the ninth round, Joshua managed to turn the tides, bombarding Usyk with a plethora of punches, frustrating the Ukrainian.
However, Oleksandr Usyk put the fight back in his favor, defeating Joshua in the process.
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The game ended with Usyk earning scores of 115-113 and 116-112 from two judges while one favored Joshua with a score of 115-113.
Usyk managed to retain his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.
Joshua’s post-match reaction
After a second consecutive loss to Usyk, Anthony Joshua picked up two of the winner’s belts and threw them out of the ring before charging towards his dressing room.
Joshua later returned to the ring with a microphone to give an emotional speech.
“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion,” said Joshua. He also spoke of Usyk, saying:
“I’m telling you this guy beat me tonight. Maybe I could have done better, but it shows the levels of hard work he must have put in, so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world.”
In a post-match press conference, Joshua broke down in tears and shared that he was frustrated with his performance.
“It’s really, really hard for me to say I’m proud of myself,” he explained. “I’m upset, really, deep down in my heart.”
Anthony Joshua also revealed what led to his outburst after the match.
“When you try and do things from your heart, not everyone is going to understand. It was just from the heart,” said Joshua.
“I knew I was mad at myself. Not at anyone, just myself. I was like, I got to get out here because I’m mad.”
“When you’re angry, you might do stupid things, so I was mad. But then I realized this is sport, let me do the right thing.”
“I’m a fighter for life. The hunger never dies.”
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Usyk’s victory comes against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a war that he is personally invested in.
During the early days of the invasion, the 35-year-old traveled back to Ukraine, joining the territorial defense battalion in Kyiv to help in war efforts.
In March, he received permission to return to train and prepare for the rematch with Anthony Joshua, but he was reluctant to return at the time.
After the fight, Usyk relayed a speech with a translator who said:
“I devote this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, to all the people, militaries who are defending the country. Thank you very, very much.”
“This is already history,” he continued.
“Many generations are going to watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to beat me hard. But I (withstood) it and turned it in a different way.”
Oleksandr Usyk also clarified he wants to fight Tyson Fury one week after the WBC heavyweight champion said he is ready to “walk away” from boxing.
“I’m sure that Tyson Fury is not retired yet. I’m sure. I’m convinced he wants to fight me. I want to fight him,” said Usyk.
“If I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”
Oleksandr Usyk defeats Anthony Joshua in dramatic rematch to retain heavyweight titles