Anthony Joshua failed last year in his attempts to reclaim his three world titles, as he lost to Oleksandr Usyk by split decision.
Looking back on the fight, Joshua and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, differ in their opinions on the performance that night.
At the time many fans felt that despite an improved performance from their first fight, a split-decision defeat was extremely generous for ‘AJ’ and that Usyk won by a wider margin.
Since the defeat, in the eyes of many, Joshua’s stock and confidence has taken a hit, as fans and fighters question whether he will ever reign as champion again.
The Brit was clearly disappointed with his performance in the rematch, feeling he could have done more, telling iD Boxing:
“First one [first Usyk fight], not good at all. Second one was a bit better but not good enough. It just showed me that there’s another level that I’ve got to go to, which is going to be tough.
I lost it in the later rounds, in the last two to three rounds I threw it away, that’s my opinion. But I got beat by the better man.”
Hearn, however, thought Joshua had performed ‘very well’:
“I thought he performed very well against Usyk in the second fight. Still could’ve done more, but after nine rounds I think he’s winning the fight,”
“And then Usyk closes out unbelievably and was brilliant. But he felt it was a disaster, and I keep saying to him, ‘You did all right. You lost 115-113 to pound-for-pound No.1. Forget the first fight – tactics wrong. And you still could’ve done more.’”
Since the rematch ‘AJ’ has made changes to his team as he aims to become a three-time world champion, appointing 2022 Trainer of the Year, Derrick James as his new head trainer.
Joshua will fight under the guidance of James for the first-time next month, as he prepares to get back to winning ways against Jermaine Franklin.