By: Sean Crose
“Definitely the hunger’s still there,” Anthony Joshua said at a Tuesday press conference to promote his August 20th rematch with IBF, WBA, and WBO world heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk. “As I said from the get go,” he continued, “stay hungry.” Joshua will have to be hungry if he wishes to win later this summer. Usyk is an insanely skilled fighter, something Joshua learned the hard way when Usyk won Joshua’s titles in their first match last September. Joshua has been down this road before, however. In 2019 he was knocked out in his American debut by Andy Ruiz, subsequently losing his titles in the process.
Joshua won his titles back six months later by changing his style and outslicking Ruiz until the final bell of their rematch. That fight was held in Saudi Arabia, just as the rematch with Usyk will be. Joshua clearly hopes to keep to his winning ways when fighting in the Middle Eastern Kingdom. “Blips happen,” Joshua continued at the press conference, “things happen in life, but resilience, mental toughness consistency will always prevail.” By making the proper adjustments, both in and out of the ring, Joshua feels he can once again be a heavyweight multi-titlist.
“I knew I could come back again and do what I have to do,” he said, referring to his defeat to Usyk back in September of last year. “I hold myself accountable. I’m someone who can admit when I’m wrong and hold my head high when I’m right.” Noted American trainer Robert Garcia has joined team Joshua to help the Londoner hold his head high in victory again. “I see a different Anthony now, the way he thinks, the way he walks,” Garcia said. “I think he fought the wrong fight (but) that’s the past. It happened already.”
Again, this isn’t the first time Joshua finds himself having to make adjustments. He had to make them in order to best Ruiz in their rematch, after all. And, at least outwardly, the towering Englishman exuded confidence during Tuesday’s press conference. “If you know me and a lot of my story you can know I’m the comeback king,” Joshua said. “You can put me down but it’s difficult to keep me down.” Defending titlist Usyk, who was also at the press conference, seemed to take those words seriously, as he refused to take his eyes of Joshua, even after their faceoff minutes later.