- Title: Usyk says Joshua fight was biggest but not hardest of his career
- Date: 26th September 2021
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (SEPTEMBER 25, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT IBF, IBO, WBO AND WBA CHAMPION, OLEKSANDR USYK, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "The plan was to walk in, to see, to start, so we went in, we saw, we started and in the 12th round they said: 'go on, put some speed on, and I did, and then they said 'and the new....', so that was the plan." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT IBF, IBO, WBO AND WBA CHAMPION, OLEKSANDR USYK, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "At this moment in my career, this was the biggest fight in my career, but it wasn't the hardest one." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT IBF, IBO, WBO AND WBA CHAMPION, OLEKSANDR USYK, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "Yes I tried a few times (to knock him out), I put my speed into it, I punched him a couple of times but then I was losing my rhythm, and then I was getting back into my corner and my trainer would say: 'Hey you're trying to knock him down, but you have to do your work, you have to throw your jab, because if you concentrate on the knockout, you're going to lose your rhythm, you're going to lose your work which you're doing'." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT IBF, IBO, WBO AND WBA CHAMPION, OLEKSANDR USYK, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "Where would I like the rematch? The Olympiyskiy stadium (in Kyiv)." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT IBF, IBO, WBO AND WBA CHAMPION, OLEKSANDR USYK, SAYING: (OFFICIAL TRANSLATION) "Yes, London is a really lucky city for me, but not a single victory in the professionals can be above the Olympic gold." WHITE FLASH USYK LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, ANTHONY JOSHUA, SAYING: "Well done to the winner and we'll be back again, get back into training. (It was a) great 12 rounds, great experience as well in the ring, and we progress from this point on once again, so we'll be doing it all again soon." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, ANTHONY JOSHUA, SAYING: "Oh yeah look, I'm a different kind of animal, yeah. I'm not a sulker you know. This is a blessed opportunity to be able to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world, to fight good fighters time and time again, for people to come out (and watch). So, yeah, it's a blessed opportunity. I'm not going to go home tonight and be crying about it because this is war, it's a long process. This isn't just like one fight and then I'm done, I've got an opportunity to go back to the drawing board, so I can't go back and sulk, that's wasting time. I'm going back to look at ways I can improve straight away. I've already been watching the fight and figuring out how I could have done that already in my mind anyway. So yeah, I'm not too bothered, what I'm bothered about is how much better I can get. That's where I'm putting my energy. I'm not putting my energy into sulking. I'm putting my energy into ways I can improve." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, ANTHONY JOSHUA, SAYING: "There's an old saying innit, if you want to go down as a great fighter don't fight southpaws, especially good ones. So, he's a good fighter, southpaws are tricky right? They're not the easiest fighters. I know, if I was fighting an orthodox fighter, I probably would have knocked him out by the ninth (round) no matter who it is. But I know this experience today is invaluable and the next fight will benefit me a lot. This what I went through today will have a massive benefit for me in the next fight right? I don't think it's going to do me any worse, I'll come out with a positive mindset with great experience from this fight, from the whole training camp that I can build on. So it's not a bad thing." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, ANTHONY JOSHUA, SAYING: "The road to undisputed (champion) and all that stuff is good. As I said, I'll fight Tyson Fury, (Deontay) Wilder and what not, without the belts. The belts are fun, it's great, it's legacy. But with or without the belts I'll fight whoever. You know, the road to undisputed is a nice title to have, a nice title to chase. But would you still watch it without the belts?" (Reporter: "100 percent.") "Exactly. So that's the main thing, is that you've got two competitive fighters in the ring from UK soil that just want to go toe to toe." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOXING PROMOTER EDDIE HEARN, SAYING: "I think in a strange way, he enjoyed the fight because I think he knows he learnt so much in the fight and I think deep down he knows he was beaten by the better man tonight and he was beaten by an outstanding boxer. So I think he needs credit because he could have swerved that fight easy, and maybe we should have. But that's not really what he's about, and, you know, I think you got people who will take easy options and you've got people who will choose to fight everybody, and the latter is AJ. And I think us, fans, you guys, should give him that credit. It's again, same with the rematch. Same with (Andy) Ruiz (loss), after that fight, maybe a little ten rounder. No, no, no. Absolutely no chance of convincing him to do that. He will want to go straight into the rematch with Oleksandr Usyk because that's what he does. You know, for that time where I was talking about that 12 fight run that he's been on, Dillian Whyte, Charles Martin, (Dominic) Breazeale, (Eric) Molina, (Wladimir) Klitschko, (Carlos) Takam, (Joseph) Parker, (Alexander) Povetkin, Ruiz, Ruiz, (Kubrat) Pulev, Usyk. Now, you're going to stick Usyk on him again, that's a 13 fight run. I actually feel quite bad. Like I think someone said in the change room, can't we fight (YouTuber) Jake Paul or something? You know, he seems to have to take all these tough fights, but, you know, hopefully he's remembered for that." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BOXING PROMOTER EDDIE HEARN, ASKED ON WHETHER THE REMATCH STIPULATES THAT FIGHT HAS TO BE IN THE UK, SAYING: (Reporter asking whether the rematch has to take place in the UK) "No, no." (Reporter: "So it could be in Ukraine, yeah?") "No, very unlikely. I think, Ukraine is not great in February, no, on a serious note, we'll work together to maximise the revenue, Ukraine very unlikely, to be honest, I think it will be international, it will be in the UK, I would think it would be in the UK."
- Embargoed: 10th October 2021 11:04
- Keywords: Boxing Eddie Hearn Fury IBF Joshua Usyk WBA WBO belts heavyweight rematch
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: UK
- Topics: Boxing,Europe,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWCVWVZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk dethroned world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in his own backyard with a stunning display to earn a unanimous points decision in front of a sell-out crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday (September 25).
The 34-year-old former undisputed cruiserweight world champion put on a master class to silence the vast majority of the 67,000 fans who packed into the huge arena.
Usyk, giving away height, weight and reach to the champion, proved too elusive for Joshua throughout an enthralling contest and landed the much cleaner shots, finishing with a flurry in round 12 as he went in search of a knockout.
Joshua stayed upright but the decision was a formality as Usyk seized the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts with the three judges scoring it 117-112, 116-112, 115-113.
Former Olympic champion Usyk, contesting only his third professional heavyweight fight, follows in the footsteps of compatriots Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko who dominated the division for a decade from 2004-15.
He is only the third cruiserweight world champion to step up a weight and become the heavyweight world champion after Evander Holyfield and David Haye.
At a news conference after the fight, Usyk said he didn't feel particularly challenged by Joshua and said he would like to have the rematch held in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv - something Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn said would be unlikely.
For Joshua, a second career defeat was a crushing blow and scuppered hopes of a unification showdown with fellow Briton Tyson Fury, the WBC holder, who takes on American Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Oct. 9.
Even the most diehard Joshua fans had to concede their man had been schooled by a skilful craftsman who rarely looked ruffled even when sustaining a cut above his eye late on.
Joshua said he wouldn't look at the negatives and focus on getting back in the gym to try and improve on his mistakes ahead of a rematch.
Joshua admitted fighting a southpaw was tricky, but said he'd gained valuable experience from the loss.
When asked about the chances of the long-awaited fight between him and British rival Tyson Fury, Joshua said he would be willing to fight Fury and former WBC champion Deontay Wilder, even without any belts on the line.
Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn joked that his man had gone through a tough run of fighting elite boxers, and wondered whether they should fight YouTuber turned somewhat gimmicky boxer Jake Paul.
Hearn questioned whether it would have been better for Joshua to dodge the mandatory Usyk fight and only lose the WBO belt in the process, but said Joshua is the type of fighter who wants to beat the best in the sport.
(Production: Mussab Al-Khairalla)
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