Anthony Joshua’s reaction to his second consecutive world title defeat to Oleksandr Usyk has drawn the ire of the boxing world after the Brit threw two of his belts out of the ring and delivered an expletive-filled rant following the split decision loss.
In the aftermath of the career-threatening result, Joshua grabbed the microphone moments after the 113-115, 116-112 and 115-113 decision and refused to hand it back to the ring announcer in what was described as a cringeworthy moment for the former world champion that led to him justifying his performance by telling the crowd he’s “not a 12-round fighter”.
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Moments before, he was seen throwing two of his belts out of the ring in a sour response to the judges’ decision.
Joshua loses it after split decision loss
Seconds after the final bell, both fighters showed respect for one another as they held up the flag of Usyk’s Ukraine together.
However, things changed dramatically after the scorecards were read out, with Joshua held back by his team in the ring before throwing two of his belts from the squared circle. He then left the ring and walked to the entrance of the arena in frustration but soon marched back.
He approached Usyk, and could be heard saying: “Skills win boxing, you’re not strong, how did you beat me? I had character!” and the Brit then grabbed the microphone and delivered a bizarre rant.
“Usyk, one hell of a f—ing fighter, let’s give him a round of applause. That’s just emotion. If you knew my story, you would understand my passion,” he started.
“I ain’t no f—ing amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from a youth. I was going to jail. I got bail and started training my ass off, because if I got sentenced, I wouldn’t ‘t be able to fight.
“The f—ing passion we put into this shit, man. This guy, to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the levels of hard work he must have put in, so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world.
“I’m not a 12-round fighter. Look at me! I’m a new breed of heavyweights. All them heavyweights — Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey. ‘Oh, you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano. ‘ “Cause I ain’t f—in’ 14 stone, that’s why! I’m 18 stone and I’m heavy! It’s hard work! This guy here is a phenomenal talent.
“We’re going to cheer for him three times. Well how many belts have you got now bro, five? As I said, I was studying Ukraine and all of the champions that have come from your amazing country, I’ve never been there but at the same time what’s happening there is not nice.
“I saw it with [Vasily] Lomachenko in your second fight with Orlando [Salido] there was unrest in Ukraine, there was civil war. Vitali Klitschko when he faced Danny Williams, civil unrest – under them circumstances, Usyk has managed to become champion. Field field! I just want to say: Bismillah.”
Even the commentary team was bewildered by Joshua’s reaction: “We’re watching a man cope with his loss, in real time,” Corey Erdman said.
“I feel like he was left out to dry by his team. Somebody should’ve saved him from himself,” Joshua’s gym partner Frazer Clarke said on Sky Sports.
“In the true sense of boxing, that was Usyk’s time to celebrate, I don’t think it was right. Anthony has done a lot of good, but he had a bad one there. There are no excuses, that was Usyk’s time. Somebody should’ve stopped him, saved himself.
“Nobody feels it as much as Anthony. He’s not a normal boxer. The pressure I feel vs Joshua, it’s chalk and cheese. Maybe boiled over there. Maybe heated. Let’s not judge him on that, Joshua I know, a nice respectful human being.He boiled over there.
“Maybe he’s concussed. After a fight, your head is all over the place. Maybe not what he said, the time. If I was there, I would’ve took a dig to take the microphone off him. Give him a minute to composes himself.”
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