Joshua anticipates 'must win' fight, Usyk bursts into song

By Sports Desk August 17, 2022

Anthony Joshua admitted his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is "must win" ahead of the fight on Saturday.

Joshua was surprisingly outclassed by Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September as the Ukrainian won the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles.

Usyk will defend his belts for the first time in a rematch this weekend with the Briton in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at the final press conference before their bout at the Shangri-La hotel in Jeddah, Joshua insisted he has to win, but felt confident after his camp with new trainers Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez.

"That's it. Must win," Joshua said. "I like the pressure. It's been tough. Robert Garcia, Angel Fernandez, existing members of my previous team as well, definitely pushed me, challenged me. 

"Now we just get the job done. Instinct, stay focused, get the job done, God willing, victorious."

On his motivation for the fight, where he will face the unfamiliar role of challenger, Joshua said: "It's competition.

"I've got goals I want to achieve in the ring on the night. That's competition with myself. You've got to have a competitive spirit."

Usyk is aiming to repeat his impressive performance from the first fight, and seemed relaxed at the press conference, echoing what his opponent said about the importance of competition.

"We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything. The one who does not compete does not live," Usyk said.

"All our lives are competition, for anything, for something, for somebody. That's why we are competing."

Either as a mind trick or simply to show how unfazed he was in general, as Joshua was leaving the stage following their face off, Usyk burst into song, joined by members of his team.

Related items

  • Fury to face Usyk in December rematch, says Saudi Arabian official Fury to face Usyk in December rematch, says Saudi Arabian official

    Tyson Fury's rematch with Oleksandr Usyk will take place in Riyadh on December 21, according to the chair of Saudi Arabia's general entertainment authority Turki Alalshikh.

    Earlier this month, Usyk beat Fury by virtue of a split decision to become the first undisputed world heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis held the WBC, WBA and IBF belts from November 1999 to April 2000.

    It was the first defeat of Fury's professional career, with two judges scoring the fight 115-112 and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, and the third scoring it 114-113 to Fury.

    Fury subsequently described it as "one of the daftest decisions in boxing" and said a second bout would take place in October, with both fighters confirmed as holding a rematch clause in advance of the first fight.

    That date has now been pushed back, but Fury will get a chance to avenge his loss in December.

    In a post on X on Wednesday, Alalshikh wrote: "The rematch... is now scheduled on the 21 of December 2024 during Riyadh Season.

    "The world will watch another historical fight again. Our commitment to boxing fans continues. We hope you enjoy it."

    On Tuesday, Fury's promoter Frank Warren told Sky Sports he was confident the Gypsy King would bounce back. 

    "I spoke to him [Fury] after the fight and obviously when he got back just to make sure he's okay. He was very disappointed but very philosophical," Warren said.

    "It was a fabulous fight, two absolute gladiators who didn't leave anything in the ring in an epic fight, the most important fight of the 21st century. It was a very, very close fight and I think it will be an even bigger one next time."

  • 'I believe I won' - Fury loses historic undisputed championship to Usyk 'I believe I won' - Fury loses historic undisputed championship to Usyk

    Tyson Fury voiced his frustration after suffering the first defeat of his career to Oleksandr Usyk in their undisputed world heavyweight title fight in Saudi Arabia.

    Usyk won by split decision to become the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis, and the first to unite all four belts.

    The scorecards read 115-112 and 114-113 in favour of Usyk, while a third judge scored 114-113 to Fury.

    After an even start, the momentum shifted in a brilliant ninth round for the Ukrainian as he caught Fury with a left hook, forcing the referee to give him a standing count before the bell saved him from a further onslaught.

    A defiant Fury was not happy with the result, suggesting that Usyk received a sympathy vote from the judges.

    "I believe I won that fight," he said in the ring. "I believe he won a few of the rounds, but I won the majority.

    "His country is at war, so people are siding with the country at war. Make no mistake, I won that fight, in my opinion.

    "It was one of the daftest decisions in boxing. We run it back in October. I'm not going to sit here and cry and make excuses."

    Usyk remained undefeated as he took Fury’s WBC belt to add to his WBA, WBO and IBF collection.

    "Thank you so much for my team. It's a big opportunity for my family, for my country," an emotional Usyk said afterwards. "I'm very happy.

    "My people will be very happy. I think it's a big win, not only for me, it's a big win for my country, for soldiers who now defend my country.

    "I think my father now is watching over me and is very happy. Dad, I love you. I can, you told me I can."

  • John Fury appears to headbutt member of Team Usyk ahead of undisputed bout John Fury appears to headbutt member of Team Usyk ahead of undisputed bout

    Tyson Fury's father John Fury was left with a nasty cut on his face after appearing to headbutt a member of Oleksandr Usyk's entourage at a pre-fight media day on Monday.

    WBC belt-holder Fury will face Usyk for the undisputed world heavyweight title in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with both men defending undefeated professional records.

    With both fighters and their camps present at a hotel in the city for media duties on Monday, the build-up to their bout – the most eagerly anticipated in the heavyweight division in recent years – got off to a chaotic start.

    Fury's father was pictured with blood running down his forehead after becoming involved in an altercation with a man wearing a Team Usyk tracksuit.

    Widely shared footage on social media appeared to show him headbutting the man, who then had to be restrained by other members of Usyk's entourage.

    It was later reported that the Saudi Arabian authorities were aware of the incident but did not plan to take any action.    

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.