Anthony Joshua is ready to go for a knockout when he faces Oleksandr Usyk this summer.
The pair are set for a rematch after Ukrainian star Usyk dethroned Joshua last September. Usyk outboxed the Brit to claim a unanimous points win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The tactics from Joshua were bizarre as he failed to use his size advantage against Usyk, who had come up from cruiserweight, and instead tried to box with the slick southpaw. It meant Usyk took the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles from the Watford warrior.
Joshua had a rematch clause in the contract for the clash and he triggered it soon after his second career defeat. He has since ditched long-time trainer Rob McCracken and promoted Angel Fernandez from within his team to be his head coach for the rematch.
Now ‘AJ’ is promising a different game plan for when he takes on Usyk again. “The fight with Usyk, in my mind, was going for 12 rounds,” Joshua said, speaking at the Oxford Union where he gave a talk to students.
“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 and Usyk’s team are still finalising the details for the rematch venue. Promoter Eddie Hearn has secured a large site fee from Saudi Arabia but the final decision on the location rests with the Ukrainian’s team.
The contracts were being reviewed last week but there’s still no official date. July 23 was being targeted. If it was to take place in Saudi Arabia, a new arena would be built to stage the fight indoors because of the searing summer heat.
The fight – wherever it happens – is set to be aired on Sky Sports Box Office. Joshua is currently out of contract with the broadcaster but, despite attempts from DAZN to secure his UK rights, he is set to renew with Sky in the coming weeks.
That is expected to be finalised once the Usyk rematch is announced in the coming weeks. DAZN were keen to land Joshua in the UK but they will continue to air his fights in other territories including the US when he next fights.