Boxing: Joshua to use lessons learned from Usyk defeat in rematch

Anthony Joshua (left) was defeated by Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sept 25, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - A "re-invented" Anthony Joshua has said he is well aware of Oleksandr Usyk's tricks and knows what he must do to defeat the Ukrainian when they meet in their blockbuster heavyweight rematch in Jeddah on Saturday (Aug 20).

Usyk beat the Briton in front of a sell-out crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to take the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation, International Boxing Federation belts.

In the aftermath of his second career defeat, Joshua hired a new trainer in former super-featherweight world champion, Robert Garcia, and he believes the veteran American trainer will give him the edge in the rematch as he is "a bad-boy coach".

He added he learned a lot from his first meeting with Usyk.

"I know what he's going to do, I know what I've got to do," Joshua told the BBC.

"I've been in there before, I know his tricks. I've got to go change the narrative. I'm the author of my own movie.

"I took myself to the United States, worked with some new trainers. I just wanted to kind of revamp things. I'm going to be 33 in a couple of months. I want to try something new, I want to revamp myself, reinvent myself - let me bring in some new coaches.

"I've just got to go in there and do my job, no excuses. I'm a winner, I think I'm known as a winner. We've come into the game and just been winning ever since.

"There's not really nothing else to know about me."

Joshua previously lost the belts to American Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 - his first defeat - before regaining them later that year, with that rematch also held in Saudi Arabia.

But while he was always considered the favourite in both fights against Ruiz Jr, the undefeated Usyk is a different animal.

He was the undisputed cruiserweight champion from 2018 to 2019 and has looked equally at ease since moving up to heavyweight.

This will be his fourth fight at this weight level yet Usyk has retained the speed and dexterity he showed at cruiserweight.

Joshua is taller - he has a 7cm height advantage - and is more well built but the 35-year-old champion is universally regarded as the more technically proficient boxer.

Usyk is also fighting for more than the retention of his belts - he is representing Ukraine, a country that has been at war with Russia for six months.

Saturday's fight will be on free-to-air TV in Ukraine, after he spoke with the Saudi organisers of the bout and he intends to deliver an unforgettable show.

"It's great and it will show the connection between me and Ukraine. The fact that everyone at home can watch will inspire me," Usyk told The Guardian on Tuesday.

"I am just going to box like it's a normal fight, so I don't know about Joshua. But I won't be just as good as any other time I have fought. I will be better.

"With God's help, after this fight, I will get back to my motherland, to Ukraine."

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