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BOXING

'I am heavy'- Anthony Joshua gives odd reason for loss to Oleksandr Usyk

Former unified world heavyweight champion gave a shocking speech after losing his second fight with Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk.

Anthony Joshua lost via split-decision in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk

Following the announcement of Usyk's victory, Joshua put on a display far from what we usually expect from the British-Nigerian heavyweight.

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Joshua was visibly infuriated by the split decision and had to be restrained by members of his posse. As Joshua threw a tantrum and tossed two of Usyk's belts from the ring, the crowd booed him, and he stormed off.

Having calmed down, Joshua returned to the ring to give a surprising speech which did little to explain his outburst. Upon re-entering the ring, Joshua immediately confronted Usyk, rhetorically demanding to know how the Ukrainian beat him.

“I don't care about being strong, I have that skill. Being strong doesn't win boxing skills wins boxing. How did you beat me? Because of skill? I had character and determination.” Joshua explained to a flustered Usyk.

The 32-year-old fighter then requested the microphone and gave an unexpected speech which did nothing to mend the damage caused by his earlier outburst.

“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion. I was not an amateur boxer who was an elite prospect since he was five years old. I was going to jail, and when I got bailed, I started training hard because if I got sentenced, I wouldn't have been able to fight.” Joshua said.

Trying to be courteous in defeat, Joshua continued his strange post-fight monologue by congratulating his opponent before giving a baseless excuse for his defeat.

“I am not a twelve-round fighter. Look at me, I am a new breed of heavyweight. So [I’m not like] those heavyweights like Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, I am not 14 stone, I am 18 stone, I am heavy, and it is hard work.” the former WBO heavyweight champion said.

Despite losing to Usyk, Joshua can still hold his head high as the fight was close from the beginning till the final bell. The 35-year-old Ukrainian remains undefeated and added the vacant Ring heavyweight title to his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles.

Many expect the Ukrainian to challenge Tyson Fury in the coming weeks, but with the ‘Gypsy King’ still in retirement a more realistic opponent is British boxer Daniel Dubois.

As for Joshua, it is back to the drawing board. Although it was a narrow loss, it does no favours for Joshua’s confidence having now lost three of his last five fights.

Recall that Joshua signed a new contract in June 2022, so the chances of him hanging up his gloves are almost zero. Multimillion dollar contract aside, as previously mentioned, Joshua put up a good fight but lost to Usyk’s speed and elite boxing skills.

Joshua can still command a respectable fee and sell out venues with minimal promotion since he is a recognizable face. There have been rumours of a possible fight with American boxer Deontay Wilder but jumping head first into a clash with a dangerous boxer like Wilder is not a wise decision.

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