Anthony Joshua says he expects to receive credit and admiration from fans after he defeats unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch on August 20th.
Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) is seen by many boxing fans as having very little chance of defeating Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) in their rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
AJ looked so bad in losing to Usyk last September that fans can’t see any path to victory for the 32-year-old Joshua in the rematch, and a lot of people think he’s making a big mistake of fighting Usyk straightaway without taking at least one tune-up first.
While Joshua avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in an immediate rematch after losing to him in their first fight in June 2019, that was against an overweight fighter that hadn’t trained properly. Ruiz wasn’t supposed to beat Joshua in their first fight, but he did so because AJ got sloppy.
Joshua’s defeat against Usyk was total domination from start to finish, and you can’t blame it on AJ getting careless as he did in his loss to Ruiz.
“I feel when I go and beat Usyk, I’ll get the credit I deserve again,” Joshua, 32, told ESPN. “And I’ll get the admiration for being a true boxing legend. … I fought for the heavyweight championship in my 16th fight; I felt like it’s kind of overlooked.”
Joshua will get credit, as long as it’s not a robbery, and if he doesn’t resort to fouling Usyk. It’s troubling that Joshua has hired a trainer to give him tips on roughhouse tactics, but it shows how desperate AJ is to save his career. He’s willing to bend the rules to try and get a win.
“I knew where I wasn’t good enough, you know, areas where I was exposed,” said Joshua
“And look, I’ve got a third chance to become heavyweight champion of the world. I will address the weaknesses and then I’ll make sure I get it right and become champion again. I think it’s a task that’s definitely possible,” said Joshua.
“He’s a great fighter, very talented, and one of the best pound-for-pound in the world,” said trainer Robert Garcia to Matchroom Boxing when asked about his thoughts on Usyk.
“Some people might even say he’s the best in the world. He’s a legit fighter, and as a person too. I actually know him personally. He trained in my gym in Oxnard in the United States.
“I know his team really well, and his manager really well. It’s going to be a challenge for me. Bringing a fighter [Joshua] that lost his last fight to beat the favored guy, the one that we shouldn’t beat, that we can’t beat.
“I’ve done it a few times before, and this is another opportunity for me to show what I can do in the ring,” said Robert.