Joshua: I am getting my rhythm back after 'tough' Usyk defeats

By Sports Desk December 22, 2023

Anthony Joshua believes he is getting his "rhythm" back after suffering back-to-back defeats to Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight belts against Usyk on points in London in 2021, before the Brit lost another decision to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion in their rematch in Saudi Arabia last year.

Joshua returned to the ring with an uninspiring points win over Jermaine Franklin before stopping Robert Helenius in eight rounds in August.

Those victories have put him back in the heavyweight title picture, setting up a bout with Otto Wallin in Riyadh this weekend. Deontay Wilder is set to fight Joshua Parker on the same card, and a two-fight deal has reportedly been agreed for Joshua and Wilder to meet twice in 2024.

Joshua feels he is getting back to form ahead of his fight this weekend, telling Stats Perform: "The [Oleksandr] Usyk fights were definitely tough times. Not perfect but we live to fight another day.

"But I'm here now and I'm definitely finding my feet again, for sure. That rhythm that one needs to be victorious.

"I set out a plan and I'm sticking to that. It was to be competitive, to fight three times this year. Who knows what will happen in this fight? But I'm leading towards victory.

"In terms of sticking to the plan, I've been consistent, which has helped me get my rhythm back for sure."

With all the potential distractions of future bouts hanging over this weekend's card, Joshua is remaining focused on fight week, saying: "I believe getting through a training camp in good fashion is a big part of being victorious. It's been very challenging and I've pushed myself.

"We're still staying focused. I remain in the camp mindset because I want to still be victorious. I don't want to lose myself with only a week to go and I'm going to get to the fight in good health and a good mindset and just do what I'm supposed to do."

The Wallin fight will be Joshua's first working under Ben Davison, his fifth trainer in three years after previously working with the likes of Robert McCracken and Derrick James.

Joshua is pleased with the impact Davison has had, explaining: "Working with Ben has been good. I've been disciplined. I've followed instructions.

"I'm a fast learner, not many are, but I'm a fast learner. So I take on board what they're saying.

"I trust in what he's saying as well. I wouldn't be in Ben Davison's camp if I didn't trust him and now I just have to do what I'm being told to do on the night of the fight."

Former Joshua conqueror Usyk is set to take on Tyson Fury in February, when a first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era will be crowned.

That fight is not at the front of Joshua's mind, however, with the 34-year-old stating: "I'm not focused on that one at the minute.

"It'll be a good fight. But all I'm focusing on is a day of reckoning and my opponent that's in front of me. I haven't really done a whole breakdown, but I'll be a good fight for sure."

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