Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua explains gameplan for Oleksandr Usyk rematch

Anthony Joshua claims he plans on going ‘back to basics’ against Oleksandr Usyk when the pair face off for their rematch later this year.

AJ, 32, is looking to reclaim his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts after Usyk put on a masterclass at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn believes the pair’s rematch will be finalised within the next two weeks amid reports it could land in Saudi Arabia.

And Joshua has admitted that he got his strategy completely wrong the first time – but has vowed to rectify his mistakes after confirming that his assistant coach Angel Fernandez has been promoted in a change to his training camp.

Speaking at the Oxford Union, he said: “The fight with Usyk, in my mind, was going for 12 rounds.

“That was my game plan because I thought I could compete with him as a boxer.

“And I think he won two more rounds than I did. That’s how he became champion.

“So the goal now is to go back to basics and go for the knockout.


“I always feel, when I’m sparring or fighting people, I actually see their spirit get dampened.

“Honestly, when you’re looking at this person directly in their eyes and watching their body, you can read the body and punch after punch this person is slowly fading.

“Now when you’re boxing, the art of boxing is to hit and not get hit. So you’re kind of boxing to stay away. That’s not really my style.

“My style is to be up close and personal and make it difficult for the person. So that’s the game plan.”

Joshua was on the end of one of the biggest upsets in history when he was stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.

But the Mexican believes his old foe does have the ability to turn the tables on Usyk in their upcoming rematch if he makes a few tactical tweaks.

Ruiz told ESNews: “I think Joshua could pull it off.

“I think he needs to go in there and be aggressive, just like how he was from the beginning.

“Not let them dictate the fight. As long as he’s doing the pressure, throwing a lot of combinations, not letting Usyk get comfortable and throwing his little slick shots, I think he can win.

“But Usyk is a man of Christ, so I’m gonna be going for him.”

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