Anthony Joshua vows to take Oleksandr Usyk’s ‘soul’ by going to war in rematch

The former heavyweight champion has revealed his strategy as he aims to regain his belts in the rematch next year

Jamie Braidwood
Wednesday 27 October 2021 09:03
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Anthony Joshua has said he is preparing to go to “war” with Oleksandr Usyk and has vowed to take a more aggressive strategy into his rematch against the new heavyweight world champion.

Joshua lost his WBA, WBO and IBF belts to Usyk in a unanimous defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium last month and the 32-year-old’s approach to the fight was criticised afterwards.

The Briton has since triggered his rematch clause with the undefeated Usyk and the pair’s second encounter is expected to take place in spring next year. Joshua, who has spent time in the United States working with new coaches ahead of the rematch, has insisted he has learned the lessons from last month’s sobering defeat.

“The learning is done, it’s war, straight war. I’m boiling up inside even speaking about it,” Joshua told iFL TV. “He [Usyk] has had like 400 amateur fights, he’s seen people that have tried to rough him up, millions of times, so to just try and adapt to one [game plan] is silly.

“But for me I have one thing in my mind; that’s war, that’s murder, that’s war. That’s go out there and hurt the guy, and take his soul to the point where he wants to give up.

“That’s what boxing’s about, I’ve learned that. You hit people constantly, keep on applying a certain amount of pressure, before they know it they’ll realise you aren’t going anywhere, you’re here to stay.

“With the game plan, that’s all I have in my mind at the minute; that one track, stay on course, take this guy to places he doesn’t want to go.”

Joshua was criticised for not making the most of his size advantage in his first fight with Usyk, the former cruiserweight champion. In visiting various gyms across the US, AJ has worked with trainers such as Ronnie Shields, Eddie Reynoso and Vergil Hunter.

He added that his “close circle” of coaches and trainers have also learned their lessons from the defeat to Usyk, but Joshua insisted that he will only focus on his mental and physical approach, rather than tactics.

“The game plan is for the coaches, let them come up with it,” he said. “I ain’t got time to be studying this guy a million times, looking at every tape and analysing. Let the coaches feed me with that information.

“I’m a product of the environment I place myself in. The mindset is something that I control. My mindset…it’s important to have, but I’m not on this jab, sit back, counter, hit, don’t get hit, slip there.

“It ain’t…it is boxing but heavyweight boxing is war as well there is no hit and not get hit, you’ve got to sometimes walk through punches.”

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