When Anthony Joshua boxed Oleksandr Usyk 11 months he did not want to hurt him.
The attitude of the British heavyweight has now changed.
Joshua was beaten by the Ukrainian at Tottenham Hotspur stadium in September 2021 and lost his trio of world titles in the process.
Their contracted rematch takes place this weekend in Jeddah and the Brit stands on the cusp of becoming a three-time heavyweight champion. To do so his performance must be different from the one which couldn’t match Usyk first time around.
Before flying off to the Middle East Joshua spoke to a media huddle and reflected on his second career loss.
“It sounds crazy but I’m not going to lie. My objective was never to hurt him, to land damaging punches. My aim was to go the full 12 rounds and prove I could box as well as he does. To land scoring punches.”
“But I didn’t work hard enough to prepare for a 12 -round fight at that pace. I wasn’t in the right mind-set. That of wanting to go in there and smash him. Using my size and power this time is evident, isn’t it? But to work on it is easier said than done.”
Numerous boxing figures and fans have called on the 32-year-old to revert back to being the aggressive fighter that ended the hopes of previous opponents such as Dillian Whyte, Wladimir Klitschko and Kubrat Pulev in the past.
Carrying out such a plan against someone like Oleksandr Usyk is now in the hands of new trainer’s Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez. One thing is for certain though, this time Joshua does want to inflict damage on his rival.
“I do want to do him harm this time, despite all my respect for what he has done in the war in Ukraine. I do know that if I use my elements of height and strength, I will have a better chance of winning.”
Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2 will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, priced £26.95.