Anthony Joshua broke down in tears as he explained to the media in an emotional post-show press conference that also saw him reveal why he stormed out of the ring.
On Saturday night, Joshua, 32, lost his rematch with the undefeated Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk, 35 in Saudi Arabia following a split decision that ruled in favor of Usyk.
With Usyk retaining his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles, the ruling stopped any plans for Joshua to face Tyson Fury in their tracks, and shortly after, he left the ring and took to the microphone to share his frustrations. Now, a post-show press conference has seen Joshua fighting back tears as he shared his views on the matter, disclosing that his statements were ‘from the heart.’
Joshua was questioned if he was proud of himself, which resulted in an emotional response. “It’s really really hard for me to say I’m proud of myself. I don’t feel anything.” It was here where emotion took over and Joshua’s Promoter Eddie Hearn continued to speak on behalf of his client.
Joshua’s unplanned and impassioned speech led many online to believe that the fighter could have been coerced due to its out-of-character nature. However, others were quick to point out that he was clearly ‘exhausted and emotional.’
While two of the judges in the fight thought Usyk won the 12-round encounter, one of the judges was emphatic that Joshua deserved to be declared the winner.
Usyk honorably won the rematch in Saudi Arabia on the judges’ scorecards, although the fact it was a separate decision shocked many. While one of the judges gave the Ukrainian the verdict 115-113 and another scored it 116-112, judge Glenn Feldman scored the contest in favor of Joshua by two points (113-115). If that wasn’t surprising enough, Feldman’s scorecard also revealed that he gave the British fighter the first three rounds of the contest, despite the clear agreement among boxing fans that he had lost them.
Speaking after he was announced winner, Usyk said: “I did this victory for my country, for all people defending the country. Thank you very, very much. I’m sure Fury is not retired yet. I’m sure; I’m convinced he wants to fight me. I want to fight him, and if I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”
Meanwhile, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has emphasized that his ward will fight on despite his second loss in a roll to Usyk.
Joshua fought much better in the rematch than he did against Usyk last September but ultimately slumped to a split decision defeat.
Ahead of the fight, former WBO cruiserweight champion Johnny Nelson recommended that Joshua could retire from the sport if he lost again, annoying Hearn with his statements. Hearn even suggested that his star client could return to the ring later this year against former WBC heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder or long-time rival, Dillian Whyte.
In the immediate aftermath of Usyk vs Joshua 2, Wilder took to social media to claim Hearn had already been in touch about a potential fight with AJ. This seems unlikely as the American is already scheduled to face Robert Helenius on October 15, at the Barclays Center in New York. However, a fight with Whyte could easily be made since they share the same promoter, are both coming off losses, and are not presently linked to any other opponents.