Oleksandr Usyk has defended his last opponent, Anthony Joshua, against a wave of criticism on his mentality in regards to the sport of boxing.
After a perfect campaign at cruiserweight, Usyk moved up to the top division and relieved ‘AJ’ of his unified belts via decision. He did the same in the rematch, and left the Brit out of the title picture for the first time in the best part of a decade.
In the wake of the two losses, many fans and pundits said that Joshua was finished at the top level, with some believing a prior defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr changed his approach to boxing.
Terms like gun-shy and mentally-scarred have been thrown around, but Usyk, speaking to Boxing King Media, said these analysts had no right to speak on the two-time world champion that way.
“I think he just needs a little more time to recover. He’s a great fighter and a great personality. And who are those people who judge him? Who are the judges? Have they ever entered the ring? Have they ever trained and felt that pain? They have no right to say so.”
The Ukrainian encouraged anybody willing to comment on Joshua to get in the ring and experience the sport first hand.
“If you want to talk about the fighter, you have to at least once in your life get into the ring and get a sparring session. At least for one round, for three minutes. Then you will have the right.”
Whilst Usyk ploughs ahead to his first mandatory title defence against Daniel Dubois and then a potential undisputed fight with Tyson Fury, Joshua is set to fight on August 12 – perhaps Dillian Whyte – before facing Deontay Wilder this December.