Heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk believes Anthony Joshua was “overwhelmed” by losing their rematch, branding his post-fight antics as “emotional”.
Briton Joshua, 32, went on a lengthy rant after his points defeat to Usyk in Saudi Arabia, throwing two of the world titles out of the ring.
Asked about Joshua’s bizarre behaviour, Usyk said: “I cannot say his behaviour was a disgrace, it was just emotional.
“I don’t think he wanted to offend me.”
Joshua apologised in the post-fight media conference for what happened and Usyk, who retained the WBO, IBF and WBA (Super) titles with the victory, encouraged people to stop criticising his rival.
“I think he was just overwhelmed, it was too much to take, and he just started ranting,” said the Ukrainian, 35.
“But I don’t have any rancour towards him and I want to tell people that they shouldn’t hold it against him – he didn’t do anything bad.
“Emotions took over him and he just spurted those words, but later he told me it was OK. Don’t judge him for that. Instead, he needs support and reassurance.”
Usyk also revealed what he said to Joshua when the two-time world champion confronted him in the ring about how he could have lost again, following another points defeat in September 2021.
“He was simply asking how he, the strong guy, could have lost to me, the weak one,” Usyk added.
“I wanted to talk to him, I said, ‘ease up, man, let’s just calm down, when I have time I could come to see you in the UK, come to your gym and we could spar together and stuff’.”
Asked if Joshua still has a boxing future after suffering a third defeat of his career, Usyk added: “Of course, he does. Why not? What nonsense.
“OK, he has lost, so what? It’s not lethal. It’s just a small respite to do some homework.”
Fury fight won’t happen this year – Usyk
Usyk now has 20 wins from 20 pro fights and intends to face WBC champion Tyson Fury next in an undisputed heavyweight contest.
But he revealed a meeting with the undefeated Briton will not happen before the end of 2022, as Fury has suggested.
“It won’t happen this year, that’s for sure,” said Usyk. “As I said earlier at the presser, I’m totally healthy and don’t have any injuries, but I have old traumas which have resurfaced, and which need to be treated. I will need up to two months to recuperate.”
Fury responded on Twitter to Usyk’s comments, insisting he was prepared to take on the unified champion in April or August next year.
After beating Joshua, Usyk had said he didn’t want to fight again unless it was against the 34-year-old.
But he may now continue should Fury retire or not.
“We’ll see. I don’t want to make empty statements,” added Usyk. “Look, I’m just not interested… I could still box with Tyson Fury or with [Deontay] Wilder, but that’s where my interest ends.”