Deposed heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has vowed to learn from his humbling 12-round points defeat to the masterful Oleksandr Usyk and insists he will invoke the clause for an immediate rematch.
Usyk’s considerable ring-generalship proved too much for Joshua as the former undisputed cruiserweight king pulled away in the last four rounds to handily win a decision on Saturday night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Ukrainian even seemed on the brink of forcing a stoppage as the final bell rang with Joshua’s right eye swollen shut and fatigue setting in.
Despite the clear nature of the loss, Joshua still has hope with a rematch clause in place and the Briton believes he can regroup and regain his WBA Super, WBO and IBF heavyweight crowns in the return.
“Well done to the winner. We’ll be back again, get back into training. Great 12 rounds, great experience in the ring. We progress from this point once again. We’ll be doing it all again soon,” said Joshua in the post-fight press conference.
“What went wrong? Just taking a loss, but we’ll get it right. From the ninth, I couldn’t see in the ninth round, couldn’t see anything really, my eye was shut. But it was a good experience because in adversity you’ve just gotta learn to control yourself.
“[I want the rematch] 100 per cent, 110 per cent. I’m ready to get back to training. It was a good 12-rounder, so I’ll be in a good place when I get back into training to pick up where we left off.
“[Usyk] is just a lot lighter so the pace, he’s got a good pace. But he still gets hit, he gets hit a lot and in the rematch we’ll just learn how to hit him more and be more concussive with our punch selection.
“I’m just looking to go in there improved, stronger, smarter and I believe I’ll get a good win in the next fight because of what I learned this fight. I’m a quick learner and we’ll bounce back.”
In spite of losing his three heavyweight belts and bargaining position with long-time rival and WBC champion Tyson Fury, Joshua said he could take on the Gypsy King as a challenger without that fight losing its marketability.
“I’ll fight Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder without the belts,” added Joshua. “The belts are fun, it’s great, it’s legacy, but with or without the belts, I’ll fight whoever.
“Would you still watch without the belts? Exactly.”
Main image: Ian Walton/Matchroom Boxing.