Anthony Joshua’s defiance in stark contrast to Eddie Hearn after Oleksandr Usyk defeat

As Oleksandr Usyk celebrated winning their re-run of the Crimean War, Anthony Joshua was already plotting his revenge.

Joshua analysed footage of his damaging loss, which cost him his WBA Super, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles, in his dressing room at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora popped in to commiserate with him on joining them as members of the Usyk losers’ club and gave him some pointers.

Joshua was defiant when he finally emerged from his dressing room over two hours after his surprise defeat, claiming he had started planning for the rematch.

Unlike his defence against Usyk, Joshua’s self-belief is rock solid and he insists he will win back his unified world title, just like he did when he suffered his only other loss to Andy Ruiz Junior in 2019.

“I’m not a sulker,” he said bullishly. “This is a blessed opportunity to be able to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world.

“I’m not going to go home tonight and be crying about it because this is war. It’s a long process. This isn’t just one fight and I’m done. I can’t go back and sulk, that’s a waste of time.

“I’m going back to look at ways I can improve, straight away. I’ve already looked at the fight.

“When I walked back through the tunnel, I said to myself ‘I’m ready to get back into the gym’.”

Anthony Joshua fronts up after his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk

While Joshua’s positivity is commendable, what was worrying was his virtual denial of what happened.

He claimed his unanimous points defeat to Usyk was “a good experience” and that he did not regret trying to beat the Ukrainian at his own game by outboxing the boxer.

In another echo of the Crimean War, his gameplan was as ill-conceived as the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade and he was soundly beaten.

“It was a great experience and we’ve progressed once again,” he said. “You’ve got to trust the process, good or bad. I can’t look at it and have any regrets.

“I believe I will get a good win in the next fight because of what I did in this fight. It was a great lesson. I’m a quick learner and I’ll bounce back.”

Usyk was a convincing victor in London

Eddie Hearn struck a more realistic tone when he said he felt Usyk had got inside Joshua’s head.

“One thing Usyk does well is he infiltrates your brain,” said the Matchroom supremo. “You’re almost worrying about how good he is.

“I think maybe AJ gave him too much respect, particularly in the early part of the fight.”

Hearn is right and Joshua stood off Usyk and allowed him to dictate the tempo in front of the 66,000 crowd.

The southpaw repeatedly landed and was particularly effective with his left hook, while restricting Joshua to just isolated success with his right.

Usyk was superb at moving in and out of the pocket and sent Joshua staggering backwards with another left in the seventh.

Joshua’s right eye began to swell up in a sign of Usyk’s accuracy and he could not see out of it by the ninth.

Anthony Joshua lost his WBA, IBF & WBO heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk
Action Images via Reuters)

Hearn feared Usyk would stop Joshua and he almost did in the 12th when he pinned the champion on the ropes and unloaded on him.

Joshua stuck out his tongue in an attempt to show he wasn’t hurt, but he wasn’t fooling anyone.

The judges scored the contest 117-112, 116-112, 115-113 and Usyk was a two-weight world champion in the city where he won Olympic heavyweight gold in 2012.

“London really is a lucky city for me,” he smiled.

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