AJ says he's 'no sulker' as Usyk cherishes historic heavyweight title win

The 31-year-old Londoner suffered his second professional defeat to Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

This defeat was more worrying for Joshua than his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019, which he avenged in a re-match, because he was largely outclassed for 12 rounds.

Deposed heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua said he would not waste time sulking after his unanimous points defeat by classy Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday.

The 31-year-old Londoner was unable to counter the superior boxing skills of Usyk as he suffered his second professional defeat to lose his WBA, WBO and IBF belts.

His chastening defeat scuppered the prospect of a unification fight against WBC holder Tyson Fury, who fights American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas next month.


Joshua, sporting bruises around both eyes, said his first thoughts after the loss were how he could improve, with a re-match against the undefeated Usyk his likely next option.

"When I was walking back through the tunnel, I just said to myself, 'I'm ready to get back to the gym, I'm ready to just put that work in'," Joshua, who had the vast majority of support from a 67,000 crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, said.

"I just want to get back to the gym, get back on the grind and improve, so when I fight these good guys and see that they are hurt I can capitalise on the opportunity.

"I'm a different kind of animal. I'm not a sulker. This is a blessed opportunity, to be able to fight for the heavyweight title of the world, fight good fighters time and time again and for people to come out."

Joshua said he had trouble seeing after the ninth round, owing to the swelling under his right eye caused by the accuracy of Usyk's punches.

RELATED | Usyk defeats Joshua to claim world heavyweight title

Although by that stage he was already struggling to keep pace with the elusive Ukrainian who produced a sensational performance in only his third professional heavyweight bout, having previously been the undisputed cruiserweight king.

A re-match would give Joshua the opportunity to set the record straight, although on the evidence of Saturday night he would need a vastly different strategy as trying to "out-box" Usyk was clearly doomed to failure.

"I'm going back to look at ways that I can improve. Straight away, I've already been watching the fight and thinking 'I could've done that better'," Joshua said.

"I'm not going to be going home and be crying about it, because this is war. It's a long process. This isn't just one fight and then I'm done."

This defeat was more worrying for Joshua than his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 -- which he avenged in a re-match -- because he was largely outclassed for 12 rounds.

Usyk: "I would love to have the rematch"

Usyk, the winner, however, said that the victory in London gave him less satisfaction than winning Olympic gold in the same city in 2012.

"London is a really lucky city for me but not a single professional victory can be above an Olympic gold," the Ukrainian, who won heavyweight gold at the London Olympics, said after taking Joshua's WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts.

Usyk's next fight is likely to be a mandatory re-match against Joshua, and after his last 10 fights have been outside the Ukraine the so-called "road warrior" would love nothing more than to fight in front of home fans in Kiev.

"I would love to have the rematch at Olympiyskiy Stadium in Kiev," he said, although Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn appeared to pour cold water on that scenario, saying it would more likely be in London or international to "maximise income".

ALSO READ | Dominican boxer hospitalised, 'responsive' after brutal KO

Usyk is now unbeaten in 19 fights and has followed in the footsteps of Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who dominated the heavyweight division for a decade.

"Excellent fight. Very clever. Oleksandr did a perfect job," Vitali said.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :