Second Oleksandr Usyk loss ‘tore me apart’

Anthony Joshua has opened up on his feelings about his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk, saying the result “tore me apart”.

Joshua was outpointed by the unbeaten Ukrainian in September 2021, losing the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles in the process, and the Briton failed to regain the belts from Usyk this August.

In Saudi Arabia, “AJ” fell to a second straight decision loss to the southpaw, before seizing a microphone and launching into a rant about his own boxing skills and those of his opponent.

“It tore me apart,” Joshua told DAZN. “I had so much riding on it – for me, the British fans, the undisputed fight [with Tyson Fury] – and it just really tore me apart.

“So, from a mental capacity, my close ones are telling me: ‘You should rest mentally.’ Physically, I’m down to fight; I’m a warrior, I like this game, I like competing. But on a mental aspect, people have really seen that this means a lot.”

Joshua, 32, briefly looked to be on course for an all-British heavyweight showdown with Tyson Fury despite losing to Usyk, but that long-awaited fight collapsed last month.

“I was supposed to be in the ring on December 3, so when you’re saying, ‘When are we gonna see you back in the ring?’… that was the date, but obviously it’s not happening.

“I have a good team, and I’ve got to just leave certain things to them, because all that other stuff… back and forth and social media, it’s quite time-consuming. But you’ve got to play the game as well.

“My dance partner, the last geezer I was supposed to fight, he’s a good dance partner. He handles the social media side. I think we’d do good business behind the scenes.”

Fury will instead face Derek Chisora ​​on December 3 at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, despite holding two wins over his compatriot already.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has claimed that AJ will next compete in early 2023, with the Olympic gold medalist’s old foe Dillian Whyte being the ‘frontrunner’ to face Joshua.

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