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‘Mentally it killed me’ – Anthony Joshua opens up on Oleksandr Usyk loss and vows ‘I will redeem myself’ in rematch

ANTHONY JOSHUA has opened up on the struggles he suffered mentally after defeat to Oleksandr Usyk but vowed: “I will redeem myself.”

Joshua surrendered the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in September after a 12-round masterclass by Usyk.

Anthony Joshua has vowed to ‘redeem’ himself in a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk

It was only AJ’s second ever loss, following a shock round seven stoppage to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.

Joshua, 32, then beat Ruiz, also 32, in the rematch six months later – and is now plotting similar revenge against Usyk, 34.

He told Sky Sports: “I have high expectations of myself.

“That’s why I felt like when I lost the first time I never made excuses but I had my reason.

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“I took my loss but I knew I would get it back. So I just brushed that one. But this one hurt because I was 100 per cent.

“There were no problems. Everything was cool. I just went in there and just lost to the better man on the night, and it hurt.

“But it gave me motivation to pull myself out of that position. Mentally it killed me, and I fought my way back, and I will redeem myself.”

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Joshua has been left questioning his training team after the comprehensive defeat to Usyk.

AJ has since spent time in America visiting several gyms and coaches, ahead of his contracted rematch with the Ukrainian this year.

He was even spotted in the gym with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, 44, during a recent trip to Dubai.

Joshua has not yet confirmed whether he will replace head coach Rob McCracken, or add to his training team.

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But he admitted there is now no margin for error, with the chance to regain his heavyweight throne on the horizon.

Joshua said: “Let’s focus on what’s needed. It has to come from the top-down. I’m the last piece of the puzzle. I’m the last performance.

“So we’re talking about game-planning, mindset, brain training, our approach to sparring and what we’re getting out of it.

“Dietary needs, sleep, recovery, mindset training to what I’m listening to musically, motivational speeches, and stuff like that.

“This is the biggest stage of my career, fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.

“I belong on the big stage. I belong as a champion. I belong amongst the names of this current generation.

“If I didn’t fight the best, I may have never lost [in my career]. I know people have high expectations of me as well, and I think that’s why they are so shocked [when I lose].” 

Anthony Joshua after defeat to Oleksandr Usyk
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