August 10, 2022

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New champ Usyk heads for easy life however Joshua eyes rematch – Sportsnet.ca


LONDON — Anthony Joshua was strolling again to his dressing room, dazed, bedraggled — he might barely see out of his proper eye — with sympathetic shouts coming from the group of 66,000 who’d simply seen British boxing’s nationwide treasure lose his world heavyweight titles once more.

Joshua was attempting arduous to not really feel sorry for himself. In reality, he was already plotting how he might defeat Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch.

“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 mentioned. “Most people after they’ve finished a fight, it’s like, `Yeah, let me go out and have a bit of fun.’ But my mindset is a bit different.”

So, after shaking fingers with Usyk and video-calling the brand new champ’s children again in Ukraine, Joshua bought his group to placed on a tape of the combat and watched it with two folks near him — Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora — who’ve additionally misplaced to Usyk over the previous three years.

“This isn’t just one fight and then I’m done,” Joshua mentioned. “I’ve got an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.”

The video can have been a tricky watch. Befuddled by combating a southpaw for under the second time, Joshua was given a lesson in motion and punching pace by an undefeated 34-year-old opponent who demolished all-comers within the cruiserweight division and — after simply three fights at heavyweight — already owns three of the 4 main belts in boxing’s blue riband class.

To Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, Usyk is the second greatest pound-for-pound fighter in boxing.

“Anthony could have swerved that fight easy. Maybe we should have,” Hearn mentioned. “But that’s probably not what he’s about.

“You’ve got people who will take easy options and you’ve got people who will choose to fight everybody. And the latter is AJ.”

So, Joshua will “100%, 110%” set off the rematch clause that was a part of the deal.

Hearn mentioned it can happen in February or March, hopefully in Britain and virtually actually not in Kiev – the popular location for Usyk regardless of his fearsome fame as a highway fighter.

Joshua’s coach, Rob McCracken, suppose he is aware of how his man can shut the hole on Usyk and keep away from getting within the form of scenario that noticed him hanging on the ropes by the tip of Saturday’s combat, on the tip of a pummeling in his personal again yard. He certainly would have gone down had the ultimate bell not sounded.

“You’ve got to apply pressure behind your jab and your right hand, keep him off-balance and put your shots together when you get there,” McCracken mentioned.

Easier mentioned than achieved.

Usyk will begin as favourite within the rematch — Hearn mentioned that, and Joshua didn’t disagree — and is blessed with such expertise and pedigree that he’ll be assured of outboxing his fellow Olympic gold medalist from 2012 as soon as once more.

It was some efficiency, in solely his third heavyweight combat, in such a fevered ambiance and towards a two-time world champion. By the tip, he was bullying the youthful Joshua — a person with a definite benefit in top, weight and attain – and gained comprehensively on all three of the judges’ scorecards.

“It is the biggest fight in my career but it wasn’t the hardest one. That is ahead of us,” Usyk mentioned.

Before that — and Joshua now has the advantage of a combat towards the slippery and sharp Usyk within the reminiscence financial institution — Usyk desires to go dwelling and “live” a easy life for some time.

“I want to take my kids to school, I want to plant trees, I want to water apple trees, I want to see my wife more often,” he mentioned.

He’ll return dwelling to a hero’s reception – Usyk is already a giant deal in Ukraine – and put the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles alongside his heavyweight gold medal from the 2012 Olympics, the piece of {hardware} he nonetheless treasures greater than every other.

And Joshua? The common Londoner simply went via his most chastening expertise within the ring, outclassed somewhat than stunned like he was within the gorgeous loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019.

For that cause, the restoration course of will likely be totally different and he’ll should reassess his method. That may additionally imply taking a look at his ring stroll.

Whereas Usyk was all enterprise on his strategy to the center, Joshua might need been too relaxed, high-fiving followers and even reducing away to hug an outdated face from his boyhood boxing membership.

It’s all a part of the Joshua Show – he continues to promote out huge venues, the most recent being Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — however that has been blown off track, together with the all-English narrative of a combat with WBC champion Tyson Fury to be undisputed champion.

It’s not over, although. Joshua is barely 31 and is simply too good — and profitable — a fighter for Hearn to surrender on.

“Maybe AJ gave (Usyk) too much respect, particularly in the early part of the fight,” Hearn mentioned.

“I don’t know if he (Usyk) can be much better. I hope he can’t … I think he boxed the perfect fight. Can he do it again? Maybe he can raise his game, but maybe he can’t box to that level again. AJ will, I promise you, be much, much better than that in the rematch.”





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