Anthony Joshua is determined to exact revenge for his most recent loss and regain the title of undisputed heavyweight.
He’s done it before, and now he finds himself in a situation where it is essential to his career and required once more.
Even more than getting even with Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua wants to stabilize his career after regaining control of the WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO titles.
“Someone said to me ‘You got the chance to become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.’ I said that it’s not really where you want to be,” Joshua admitted during the London press tour for the August 20 rematch with Usyk. “It’s not a route I would advise young people to travel.”
“You want to keep it, stay there and keep it,” added Joshua.
Joshua faces the unusual challenge of twice winning the unified heavyweight championship on Saudi Arabian soil. Six months after Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz stopped Joshua in the seventh round of their historic fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City in June 2019, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time champion traveled to Diriyah to defeat Ruiz.
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Joshua defeated an out-of-shape Ruiz in the rematch to successfully exact revenge for his lone loss at the time and return the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles to England.
In the course of his second reign, he only managed to defeat Kubrat Pulev in the ninth round. From there, he faced Usyk for his WBO mandatory title defense. Usyk defeated him in twelve rounds by unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London last September.
“There was a lot going on in the corner and that didn’t help. A corner is like a pit stop,” Joshua told Boxing Scene. “You’ve got probably 55 seconds in total to calm down, hydrate, and simple instructions. That’s the way you should do it. Too many voices at once is definitely not good for anybody. I was being told things like, ‘Double jab, right, left hook’ it wasn’t like, ‘Take the fight to this f***er, listen you’re losing the fight’.
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“A trainer needs to tap into that psychological aspect now because if you can overcome your mind, you can give more. I swear I thought I was [winning]. I thought I was looking like Muhammad Ali in there. I can show you sparring footage where I’m on the ropes leaning back. They tell you to train adversity, right.
“So put your hands down and let a motherf***er throw punches at you and you just sit, sit, sit. That’s how you gain confidence. So, in the fight in the 12th, I’m doing this stuff.
“Throughout the fight, I thought I was winning but at that stage, I kind of knew it was close. I thought at that stage I was well in the fight because it didn’t seem like there was any real communication as to where I’m at like, ‘you’re losing this fight… you’re down by two rounds’. I didn’t get that.
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“I’m not blaming anyone by saying that but I didn’t get any impression that I was losing the fight. I thought we were well in it. That’s why when they announced the name I was kind of like ‘huh?’
Joshua’s training camp underwent modifications, including the addition of renowned cornerman Robert Garcia. The goal is to return to what made him such an intimidating figure during his ascent through the heavyweight ranks rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.
“I’m definitely desperate to get my hands back on the titles,” emphasized Joshua. “Too much talking for me. Less talking, more action. Let me just get in there and do my job. I’m not a comedian, not someone who writes speeches.”
“I’m definitely hungry, definitely desperate. At the end of the day, how I perform will speak volumes to the masses.”
Joshua and Usyk will meet again on August 20 in in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.