Joshua was unbeaten until he suffered a shock TKO loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019, a defeat that he avenged by outpointing Ruiz six months later. The Briton then knocked out Kubrat Pulev in 2020 before losing to Oleksandr Usyk on points in 2021. Joshua, 33, fought the unbeaten Ukrainian again in August 2022, but unlike in his rematch against Ruiz, “AJ” could not regain his unified heavyweight titles.
Joshua bounced back this April with a decision win over Jermaine Franklin, and on Saturday he will box Robert Helenius, who steps in for Dillian Whyte after the latter failed a drug test.
Ahead of his clash with Helenius, Joshua was asked on Thursday which loss hurt him the most, and he told Dazn without hesitation: “Usyk 2. Yeah, massively.
“I respect Usyk, yeah? But it just hurt, the defeat.”
Joshua lost on all three scorecards in his first fight with Usyk, who was a split-decision winner in their rematch. Despite the closer nature of the second bout, Joshua refused to give himself credit for an improved performance.
“It was weak. It was a weak performance by me,” he told Dazn. “I wasn’t supposed to lose, in my head.
“It just... I give my life to this game, man. I give everything, I swear to you. I give a lot. Even talking about it now, it just makes me feel like... choked up a bit.
“When you put everything into something, it’s not easy... The only thing we get credit for is winning, there’s no silver medal in boxing. And what I gave wasn’t enough.”
After his second loss to Usyk – his first and last fight under coach Robert Garcia – Joshua seized a microphone and delivered a passionate but confused rant against his critics. He then spoke tearfully at the post-fight press conference.
Although Joshua cut a calmer figure after beating Franklin in April, in his first fight under Derrick James, he admitted he was disappointed in his performance.
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