Home Boxing News Oleksandr Usyk brushes off bizarre Anthony Joshua behaviour

Oleksandr Usyk brushes off bizarre Anthony Joshua behaviour

Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk says he wasn’t offended by opponent Anthony Joshua’s bizarre post-fight antics following their rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Joshua 24-3 (22) left the ring after his second loss to Usyk 20-0 (13) in back-to-back fights, only to double back from the dressing room, re-enter the ring and commandeer the microphone to deliver a rambling speech that seemed both critical and full of praise for Usyk.

“I didn’t think much about what he said, when he was frustrated, they were common emotions. All good, we just needed to communicate a bit,” Usyk said.

“The good things he said about me I accept but I don’t take it to my heart because I want to stay humble, I don’t want my pride to grow any bigger.

“I don’t believe in praise too much. The one who pushes himself [up], the Lord will bring down. He who stays down, the Lord will bring up.

“I feel nothing but respect for Anthony Joshua. He was a bit emotional and he was bullying some of my teammates, but I don’t recommend him having a bare knuckle fight with them because most of them are horrible street fighters. I have 20 wins at the moment but some of my guys have 25 [losses] by knockout.”

In what can only be described as a moment of frustration, Joshua picked up two of Usyk’s championship belts and dropped them out of the ring. His promoter Eddie Hearn defended those actions.

“He’s held onto those belts for a long time and those governing bodies have charged him a lot of money and put a lot of mandatories on him,” Hearn told iFL TV.

“And I think he’s lost a lot of faith in the system and I think he started to not be interested in fighting for belts anymore. I think he just wants to fight for enjoyment and to challenge himself.

“Of course, he wanted to be undisputed, but a lot of that was frustration. He left the ring, cause he knew, ‘I’m gonna do something stupid, yeah’. And he forced himself, ‘I can’t (just leave)’ so he went back in the ring and he gave a speech, which, he was a little bit out of it. But it was just pure emotion. That was just from the heart.”

Usyk came into the Joshua fight with many distractions with his native Ukraine in the middle of a war with Russian invaders.

“The future of my country is winning, the economy will grow considerably,” he said. “The tourists will all travel to Ukraine because it is rich with history.

“Many people in the world [will visit] because of our athletes like Klitschkos, Andriy Shevchenko, Loma and Usyk. Now the whole world knows Ukraine is defending itself from the second biggest army in the world. And we stand strong and we give them a lot back.

“I want to say that some people in the world are underestimating what is going on in Ukraine, please open your eyes and see what is happening.

“Ukrainians never give up, we always go the end, we always win in the end, we just need a little more time.”

As for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Usyk was blunt in his assessment.

“Everything he does is to show that he is strong, but he is not,” Usyk said. “If he really was strong he would not have to show it. In reality he is very weak.”