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Anthony Joshua On Loss To Oleksandr Usyk: “Mentally, It Killed Me”

Posted on 01/11/2022

By: Sean Crose

Give former heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua this: He has courage. We’re not talking about the kind of courage that sends one into a ring to possibly be hurt or killed, either. We’re talking here about the courage it takes to tell the entire world that you’ve been emotionally crushed. Being that honest in public is no small feat – and it can carry with it considerable consequences. There are people out there, after all – and they’re not small in number – who think giving an honest opinion of one’s current or formal mental state is a sign of weakness.

Joshua clearly isn’t such a person, and that’s something he should be given credit for. “I have high expectations of myself,” the towering Englishman told Sky Sports. “That’s why I felt like when I lost the first time (to Andy Ruiz in Joshua’s American debut) I never made excuses but I had my reason.” Now, after having once again been bested in the ring, this time to Oleksandy Usyk in a bout last September, Joshua is seeing matters differently. “This one hurt because I was 100 per cent,” he admitted. “There were no problems. Everything was cool. I just went in there and just lost to the better man on the night, and it hurt.”

No doubt it did.

“But,” Joshua added, “it gave me motivation to pull myself out of that position. Mentally it killed me, and I fought my way back, and I will redeem myself.” At the moment, the London native is working hard to make that redemption possible, as there was a rematch clause in his contract for the Usyk fight. That means a rematch is on the horizon. “We’re talking about game-planning, mindset, brain training, our approach to sparring and what we’re getting out of it,” says Joshua. “Dietary needs, sleep, recovery, mindset training to what I’m listening to musically, motivational speeches, and stuff like that.”

It’s worth keeping in mind Joshua was able to alter his general fight strategy before he avenged his loss to Andy Ruiz in the rematch of their first battle. It’s also worth noting that fellow heavyweight Tyson Fury has also publicly spoken of his own emotional issues and has emerged from his experiences as the most dominant of all current heavyweights. The story of every individual, however, is unique. With that in mind, it appears Joshua is currently facing the future with a sound mindset.

“I belong on the big stage,” he says. “I belong as a champion. I belong amongst the names of this current generation.”

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