Former two-time heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua is the first to admit he needs to fight better, differently, when he goes up against the supremely skilled Oleksandr Usyk in their return fight. It’s been well-documented how Joshua, who has been seeking out advice from a number of trainers whilst out in America – Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields – both wants to be more aggressive and says he WILL be more aggressive in the rematch.
“I’m done with losing,” Joshua recently stated. Plenty of fight folk feel AJ, if he can impose his physical strength on the smaller Usyk, if he can push him around, even bully him, will have a great chance at getting revenge. Usyk, though, is far from concerned over the idea of Joshua being more aggressive in the return battle. In fact, as he explained when speaking with DAZN, the Ukrainian southpaw very much likes the idea of AJ being more aggressive.
Usyk, who says he can and will improve on his own game (some people do believe Usyk “held back” in the final moments of the September 25 fight, when he could perhaps have forced the stoppage), is looking forward to the rematch.
“I am not sure who will train Joshua for the rematch,” Usk said. “I have seen speculation about who he may hire for next year but it does not matter to us who trains him. Our goal is to be prepared for everything and I train to improve my own chances, not based on my opponent. He also promised to be more aggressive and dangerous in the rematch. If that is the case, great. I’d be glad to experience that side of Joshua. I am sure it will be another brilliant fight.”
So, can Joshua up his game? Some critics feel Joshua is guilty of being “gun-shy,” that he has been that way since being upset by Andy Ruiz in June of 2019. Joshua is talking a great fight going into the Usyk return but what happens when he gets in there and is stung by some of those fast and sharp Usyk left hands to the face? If/when he’s hit and hurt, will Joshua again fight in a somewhat timid fashion? Or will AJ stick it to his critics by letting his powerful hands go this time?
It really is a fascinating rematch, one that could go either way. But if Joshua can up his game, so too can Usk, maybe. How great is Usyk? Have we seen his best stuff yet? If not, it will be bad news for AJ.