Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has relayed the fighter’s thoughts on his prospective rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, who claimed a convincing points victory over the Brit on Saturday night. The fight contract between the pair is believed to contain a rematch clause in the eventuality of an Usyk win, which will need to be activated if AJ is to win back his world title belts.
Joshua was truly outclassed for the first time in his career at a raucous Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Brit had the crowd well and truly on his side, but 34-year-old Usyk was not phased by those in attendance, even as they booed his national anthem before the first bell.
The challenger made a strong start, although British hopes began to resurface when Joshua found his range towards the middle rounds.
However, Usyk came on strong to close out the fight, almost putting his man down in the final seconds as Joshua just about saw the final bell.
There was little resistance from Hearn’s end when it came to the result, with the Matchroom Boxing chairman admitting that the better man had won.
Unsurprisingly, talk has already turned to the rematch which will be hotly anticipated after the pair competed in a gripping 12-round contest.
“The fighter in AJ is already talking about ‘I’ll win the rematch, I’ll win the rematch’,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“Usyk was the deserved winner and Joshua has got to make changes in the rematch.
“He will want to go straight back into that rematch, he will be an underdog in the rematch this time after tonight.”
AJ will indeed have his work cut out if he decides to take up the rematch, with Usyk extending his unbeaten professional record to 19 fights, consigning Joshua to his second defeat in the process.
While fight fans will be chomping at the bit to see the pair face off once again, it will also come as a sobering realisation that a prospective all-British showdown with Tyson Fury has now been pushed further into the distance.
AJ and Fury were expected to take to the ring if they both came through their respective contests.
Fury has a stern test of his own on 9th October when he will face Deontay Wilder in the third installment of their thrilling fight trilogy.
The American possesses such devastating knockout power that Fury will be at risk for every second of the 12-round contest, meaning he will have to be at his best to come through unscathed.
Motivation may now be a concerning factor, however, with AJ’s defeat meaning the rewards of victory have been lowered dramatically.
Still, both fighters must take it one step at a time, and based on Hearn’s comments AJ is intent on getting back into the ring with Usyk as quickly as possible.