Anthony Joshua faced Oleksandr Usyk for the first time since losing his heavyweight titles last year when the two boxers met at a news conference on Tuesday to announce their rematch on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.
The two wrestlers went head to head on stage. it turned into a protracted confrontation in which neither man was willing to part with their first look since the fight.
usyk tormented joshua for 12 rounds in september at london’s tottenham hotspur stadium to hand the watford heavyweight a unanimous decision loss and the second loss of his professional career.
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neither has boxed since, but they will fight a rematch this summer in saudi arabia with joshua under pressure to reclaim the unified wbo, wba and ibf heavyweight titles and reclaim his position in the division.
both joshua and usyk won gold medals at the 2012 olympic games in london. Usyk of Ukraine became the undisputed cruiserweight champion. Against Joshua he showed that he could handle a leading heavyweight and is now considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.
But the Briton insists he learned from his first fight and will make the necessary changes to win the second time.
“God willing, I’ll act and become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world,” Joshua said.
“The good thing is that I get a second chance. What got me into boxing in the first place: When I was young, I would get into a little trouble every now and then and I was blessed with a second chance and found boxing. And I took it with both hands. So if you know me and you know a lot about my history, you know I’m the comeback king.
“you can bring me down, but it’s hard to keep me down.”
Usyk, measured in his approach as always, said calmly, “as we all know, we are not in the best of conditions at the moment at home [in ukraine] but we are doing what we have to do. we are doing our job . together with my team we are working hard to achieve our goals. i never made very loud and brilliant speeches. all i did was work hard in my training camp and in my gym. that’s what i’m going to do. do it until the date of the fight and then I will enter the ring and make you happy with my boxing.”
Joshua reversed his first professional loss when he outpointed Andy Ruiz in another rematch against Saudi Arabia in 2019. But he reckons he’ll have to change his tactics for this august bout with Usyk.
To that end, he has hired a new trainer, Robert Garcia, to join Angel Fernandez in his corner. “Sometimes if you keep things simple, you can achieve great things,” he said. “Robert has been great at camp.
“The hunger is definitely still there.”
“Irregularities happen, things happen in life,” he added. “we are still on the road, still on the road to undisputed safety.”
‘joshua fought the wrong fight against usyk’
new trainer robert garcia explains why aj will be different in the rematch
anthony joshua has brought in a new trainer for his rematch with oleksandr usyk with robert garcia joining his team.
the american insists that joshua will be a different fighter when he enters the ring for the rematch. “I see a different Anthony now. The way he thinks, the way he talks, everything he practices, everything he does in the gym,” Garcia said.
“i think he fought the wrong fight [against usyk] and that’s in the past. that’s already happened. usyk was the better man. congratulations but on august 20 we’re going to do whatever it takes to win those titles. I know he can do it. He’s the biggest man, the strongest man, he’s got the reach advantage, so we’re going to take all of that and come to that day, I think we’ll definitely have a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.”
As a team, Garcia says they are very motivated. “I want my first world heavyweight champion. I’ve had 14 world champions. It will be my 15th, but it will be my first world heavyweight champion and that’s big, big for me too,” he added.
“we have to be ready for anything. usyk is a great fighter. he has skills, reflexes, precision, he has everything. but i think anthony has all the tools to beat him.”