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‘Mentally, it killed me’ – Anthony Joshua opens up about Oleksandr Usyk’s loss and vows ‘I’ll redeem myself’ in rematch

ANTHONY JOSHUA opened up about the struggles he suffered mentally after his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk but vowed: “I will atone for the mistake.”

Joshua to give up the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts in September after 12 rounds of Usyk’s masterclass.

Anthony Joshua vows to'atone' in rematch against Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua vows to ‘atone’ in rematch against Oleksandr UsykCredit: Getty

It was only AJ’s second loss, following a seventh-round stop shock to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.

Joshua, 32, then defeated Ruiz, also 32, in a rematch six months later – and is now plotting a similar revenge against Usyk, 34.

He told Sky Sports: “I have high expectations for myself.

“That’s why I feel like when I first lost I never made excuses but I have my reasons.

“I took my loss but I know I’ll get it back. So I just let go of that one. But this one hurts because I’m 100%.

“No problem at all. Everything was great. I just went in there and lost to a better man that night, and it was heartbreaking.

“But it gave me the impetus to pull myself out of that position. Mentally, it killed me, and I fought back, and I will atone.”

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Joshua was left behind ask questions about his training team after a total defeat against Usyk.

AJ spent time in America visit some gyms and trainers, ahead of his contractual rematch with the Ukrainian this year.

He was even spotted in the gym with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather, 44, on a recent trip to Dubai.

Joshua has yet to confirm whether he will replace head coach Rob McCracken. or add to his training group.

But he admits that there are no flaws now, with his chances of reclaiming his heavyweight throne on the horizon.

I belong to the big stage. I belong to a champion. I am among the names of this current generation.

Anthony Joshua

Joshua said: “Focus on what’s needed. It has to come from the top. I’m the last piece. I’m the last performer.

“So we’re talking about game planning, thinking, brain training, our approach to sparring and what we get out of it.

The need for diet, sleep, recovery, mind training according to what I’m listening to music, motivational speeches and the like.

“This is the biggest phase of my career, fighting for the world heavyweight championship.

“I belong on the big stage. I belong to a champion. I am among the names of this current generation.

“If I hadn’t fought my best, I might never have lost [in my career]. I know people have high expectations from me too and I think that’s why they were so shocked [when I lose]. ”

Anthony Joshua after losing to Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua after losing to Oleksandr UsykCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4435698/anthony-joshua-oleksandr-usyk-rematch-4/ ‘Mentally, it killed me’ – Anthony Joshua opens up about Oleksandr Usyk’s loss and vows ‘I’ll redeem myself’ in rematch

Huynh Nguyen

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