Just after the official decision, the Briton lost his nerves to the point of grabbing two belts from his opponent to throw them outside the ring. Welcomed by boos, Joshua then left the ring to go to the locker room before reconsidering his decision and going to explain himself to Usyk. “How did you beat me?” he asked her several times before claiming the microphone.
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The sequel was a disjointed monologue, between congratulations addressed to the Ukrainian and an account of his extraordinary journey to reach the heights of boxing. Two minutes long, punctuated by numerous insults despite the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of a very conservative Saudi Arabia, the speech finally illustrated Joshua’s unstable emotional state after this new setback.
An impression confirmed at a press conference a few minutes later where the colossus finally burst into tears. “I just spoke from my hearthe explained in reference to this sudden and confused speech. It was so hard. You see AJ (Anthony Joshua, editor’s note) holding on every time, being a real fighter. So I try to stay focused, work hard, make sure my team is good. All this has a price“.
Anthony Joshua on the microphone during his speech after his loss to Oleksandr Usyk
Credit: Getty Images
“It didn’t reach me before but it takes real strength and tonight there’s a crack in the armor“, he ended up admitting. Because this defeat, the third of his career, hurts. The Englishman had bet everything on this revenge to regain his superb. But that was not enough. “I should have wonhe estimated. I adapted, I made the necessary changes to offer him more adversity but that was not enough“. A speech almost shared by Usyk, who felt afterwards that Joshua’s size advantage had not been sufficiently exploited.
Still, Joshua’s image risks being tarnished by these differences. This is how promoter Eddie Hearn came to his defense when debriefing a very intense fight: “He’s devastated by the loss simply because he wanted the win more than anything. But we are extremely proud of him. He gave us a hell of a duel against one of the best to have ever put on a pair of gloves“. A qualifier once used for Joshua. But times have changed and the Englishman still finds it difficult to resign himself to it…
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