Anthony Joshua: ‘I let myself down’ after Oleksandr Usyk loss | UK News
Anthony Joshua says he “dropped” during his outburst in the ring following his heavyweight title loss to Oleksandr Usyk.
The Ukrainian fighter won on a split points decision after the pair went the full 12 rounds in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night, which ended with Joshua throwing two of the title belts over the ropes and running away.
Writing on Twitter, the 32-year-old Briton admitted his emotions “got the better of me”.
“I wish @usykaa continued success in your quest for greatness. You are a class act champion,” he said.
“Yesterday I had to mentally take myself to 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.
“I’ll be the first to admit it, I let myself down.
“I acted out of pure passion and emotion and when it’s unchecked it’s not great. I love this sport so much and I will be better from now on. Respect.”
Joshua’s erratic behavior saw him return to the ring after running away, grabbing the microphone to address the crowd inside the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium.
“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion,” he said.
“I’m not an amateur boxer, from five years old it was an elite youth prospect.
“I was going to jail, I was released on bail and I started training, I wanted to be able to fight.
“This guy beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the level of hard work I put in, so please applaud him as a world champion heavyweights.”
Impromptu and passionate speech divide the boxing communitysome reacting with bewilderment.
“It was time for Usyk to celebrate”
Joshua has also been criticized for not allowing Usyk, who months ago was fighting on the front lines of the Russian invasion of his homeland, to speak first.
Boxer Frazer Clarke told Sky Sports: “It was Usyk’s time to celebrate this win, and he couldn’t do it straight away, and I don’t think that’s fair.
“Anthony is a great person and has done a lot for a lot of people, a lot for me, but I feel like he got a little bad at it, and that was off the mark.”
Addressing the speech at the post-match press conference, Joshua said: “When you try to do things with your heart, not everyone will always understand.
“It was just from the bottom of my heart, I knew I was mad at myself…and I was like, ‘I have to get out of here’.”
The loss was his second consecutive defeat against Usyk.
Read more: Who is Oleksandr Usyk?
Joshua did not apologize for his behavior, but paid tribute to Usyk – and briefly posed with him holding the Ukrainian flag in a position of solidarity in defiance of Russia’s ongoing onslaught.
Usyk said he hoped his victory, which was free on Ukrainian television, would raise awareness of the war.
“I mean some people around the world are underestimating what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said.
“Please open your eyes and see what is happening.”
Zelenskyy warns of ‘vicious’ Russian attack – live updates
Usyk, 35, also teased a potential matchup with Tyson Fury after the fight.
Fury seemed enthusiastic, saying in a now-deleted Instagram post that he would “relieve the Ukrainian backer from his belts.”