Anthony Joshua has admitted he let himself down with his actions after his defeat by Oleksandr Usyk.
The 32-year-old lost to the Ukrainian for the second time in less than a year on Saturday night, failing to win back his WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO world heavyweight titles at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua lost a split decision, by margins of 113-115, 116-112 and 115-113, 11 months on from last September’s outpointing by Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
And after choking back tears in the post-fight press conference following his out-of-character rant in the aftermath, ‘AJ’ issued a statement on Sunday after taking himself into “a dark place”.
“I wish Oleksandr Usyk continued success in your quest for greatness. You are a class act, champ.
“Yesterday, I had to mentally take myself into a dark place to compete for the championship belts.
“I had two fights, one with Usyk and one with my emotions and both got the better of me.”
Joshua produced a much-improved performance against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, who has now called out WBC champion Tyson Fury, in what was his first fight under new coach Robert Garcia.
But it wasn’t enough against a man who is undoubtedly a top-level operator and who moved to 20-0 with 13 quick finishes as Joshua slipped to 24-3 (22 KOs) having now lost three of his last five.
“I’ll be the first to admit, I let myself down.
“I acted out of pure passion and emotion and when not controlled it ain’t great.
“I love this sport so so much and I’ll be better from this point on. Respect.”