Anthony Joshua Unloads his Emotions on Losing Usyk Rematch
On August 20 at the Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) attempted to become a three-time unified heavyweight champion. But he came up short, losing in the highly-anticipated rematch to current unified champ Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs). But what has boxing fans and pundits still talking were Joshua’s actions following the contest.
Visibly upset, “AJ” grabbed two of Usyk’s title belts, tossed them to the canvas, and stormed out of the ring. He eventually returned to the ring with a mic and went on what many observers described as a bizarre rant. One minute he praised his opponent. But the next moment, he went into an explicative-filled tongue lashing against his critics. Then, during the post-fight news conference, Joshua burst into tears. He was all over the place and seemed to have an emotional meltdown.
The former champ has had time to reflect on his actions. On August 21, he took to social media with statements expressing remorse for his behavior.
DEALING WITH THE UGLY REALITY
Joshua has been the face of UK boxing since he KO’d Charles Martin to win his first world title in April 2016. Usually relaxed and calculated, the 32-year-old has a reputation as a person who always has things together and never lets things get under his skin.
So, that’s why his behavior came as a shock to so many. A litany of discussions has been happening on boxing message boards and social media trying to rationalize what happened. Some suggest that the pressure of being a worldwide public figure and a high-profile world champion has become too much to bear. Others surmise what reality hit him in the face is learning Usyk is the one guy he can’t beat, no matter how hard he prepares.
It seems that Joshua appears broken, both emotionally and spiritually. He acknowledges that he had to go to a dark place to prepare for the rematch with Usyk. It must be crushing to go to that depth yet still lose.
It’s time for serious self-reflection. There’s still a future, and Joshua is still capable of winning a world title if he wants it, but he is officially no longer at the top of the mountain. From a boxing and personal context, he has to start from the bottom and rebuild. “AJ” has reached a crossroads point in his career and, in many ways, his life.
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By: Michael Wilson Jr.