By: Hans Themistode
The 2021 boxing calendar has been filled with upsets. Amongst a long list of them, was the mostly unforeseen result between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk. Although the Ukrainian star had dominated the cruiserweight division, nabbing every world title en route to becoming an undisputed world champion, his performances as a heavyweight left much to be desired.
Following a lackluster knockout win against Chazz Witherspoon and a close decision victory over fringe contender Dereck Chisora, Usyk found himself as a considerable underdog against the former unified titlist. Yet, despite the hulking muscles and his propensity for knockouts, Joshua struggled mightily. While Joshua had his moments, he was thoroughly outboxed as he proceeded to lose his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles.
Although Usyk has been lauded for what many are considering to be the upset of the year, Floyd Mayweather becomes incredulous whenever that notion is brought about.
“That was not an upset,” said Mayweather to several reporters. “It was just that, Anthony Joshua was on TV. Everybody seen him. Usyk was a helluva fighter, a gold medalist if I’m not mistaken. But he was behind the scenes. Two guys with crazy amateur backgrounds and one guy is not being seen and another guy is being seen, then we call it an upset. No, it’s just that he was working behind the scenes and another guy was working in front of everybody. Finally, they had to meet up and Anthony Joshua came up short.”
As illustrated by Mayweather, both Joshua and Usyk enjoyed sizable success in the unpaid ranks. In the case of Joshua, he wrapped up his amateur career with a record of 40-3. In the process, the British native took home an Olympic gold medal in the 2012 games. But, regardless of how impressive Joshua was before turning pro, Usyk’s achievements as an amateur dwarfs his rival.
In addition to winning countless amateur tournaments, Usyk snagged gold at the 2012 Olympics as well. By the time he hung up his amateur gloves, Usyk aggregated a record of 335-15. Although Mayweather believes the Ukrainian should’ve never been labeled as an underdog heading into his showdown against Joshua, the former unified titlist is hellbent on regaining his heavyweight throne.
Immediately following his defeat, Joshua exercised his rematch clause. The two are now entangled in intense negations. And, according to promoter Eddie Hearn, the pair are expected to lock horns in the first half of 2022.
For the past several months, Joshua has been spotted at numerous gyms as he appears to be in search of a new coach. If the former heavyweight champion has yet to make a final decision, Mayweather urges the British star to pick up the phone and give him a call.
“I told him from the beginning, he can come and I can teach him some pointers.”
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