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32-year-old Joshua Fighting For More Than Just Belts Against Usyk

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Anthony Joshua

British boxer, Anthony Joshua 24-2 (22) will be fighting for more than the unified heavyweight championship of the world when he rematches Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on August 20.

The 32-year-old Joshua has suffered criticism from many quarters following his unanimous decision loss to 35-year-old Ukrainian southpaw Usyk in September last year. Usyk widely outboxed Joshua, winning by scores of 117-112, 115-113 and 116-112.

Renowned trainer Teddy Atlas recently questioned Joshua’s desire and determination.

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“I think that Joshua is too good a loser,” Atlas said on his podcast The Fight.

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“He’s a classy guy, I’m not saying I want him to be a sore loser – that says the wrong things. I’m just saying that sometimes it looks like Joshua accepts losing a little too freely, like he did against [Andy] Ruiz the first time in the Garden, almost like a guy who’s made too much money.

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“Sometimes I just feel that it’s not important enough to him anymore.”

Former super middleweight champion Carl Froch also singled out Joshua’s mindset as the reason the Brit is unlikely to get up in the rematch.

“For Anthony Joshua to beat Oleksandr Usyk, he needs a brain transplant,” Froch said on Betfred’s Lightweight Boxing Show. “He’s got all the physical attributes, but I just don’t think he can beat him.”

Joshua, it seems, is fed up with the criticism.

“I feel like I’m not getting looked at as someone who is a dominant heavyweight in the division. Anthony Joshua, look in the mirror, yeah, that’s me, the guy, ego and that,” Joshua said to JD Sport.

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“This big Anthony Joshua goes and wins becomes three-time. I’ma dash these belts because you got to learn to respect me as a person.

“I’m tired, I don’t want to be respected because of the belts I hold. I wanna be respected because of the man you see.”

Joshua made major changes to his team following the loss to Usyk. Most notably, he replaced longtime trainer Robert McCracken with American Robert Garcia.

This move has also come under scrutiny, with former WBO super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe questioning the move.

“I’m not sure [whether Garcia is the right man for the job] we have to wait and see at the end of the day,” Calzaghe said to Boxing Social.

“I think it was time for him to have a change so I think that’s the right idea, whether Garcia is the right guy, I’m not sure. We’ll wait and see.

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“I think he needs to change things and when a fighter realises they need to change, that’s a step in the right direction. He knows he tactically needs to change against Usyk who is a very, very good boxer. His amateur pedigree, boxing from a young age, he’s an excellent boxer and a big guy.

“I think if Joshua can make his strength pay more in this fight and use his punching power – it could be really interesting. Look, it’s gonna be a tough ask but it’ll be an exciting fight.”

Hammed Tajudeen is the Editor-In-Chief of Blaze Newz Nigeria, graduated from Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication.

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