Anthony Joshua did a strange sort of self-interview or rant today in Saudi Arabia following his rematch loss to Oleksandr Usyk, which got a lot of people talking very quickly.
Joshua had left the ring, then turned around and returned to the ring, calling for the microphone. He shook Usyk’s hand again, then started rambling oddly at him while draping Usyk’s Ukrainian flag over his back.
You can see the beginning of that here:
JOSHUA CONFRONTS USYK AFTER DEFEAT pic.twitter.com/vFTYbgCoPb— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) August 20, 2022
I actually think saying he was “confronting” him frames it a little aggressively, but doing that with those emojis is good for even more clicks, I get it.
Here’s a rundown of where Joshua went once he got the mic.
“Usyk, one hell of a fucking fighter, let’s give him a round of applause. That’s just emotion. If you knew my story, you would understand my passion,” he began. “I ain’t no fucking amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from a youth. I was going to jail. I got bail and started training my ass off, because if I got sentenced, I wouldn’t be able to fight.”
He continued, “The fucking passion we put into this shit, man. This guy, to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the levels of hard work he must have put in, so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world. Woo! Motherfucker!
“I’m not a 12-round fighter. Look at me! I’m a new breed of heavyweights. All them heavyweights — Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey. ‘Oh, you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano.’ ‘Cause I ain’t fuckin’ 14 stone, that’s why! I’m 18 stone and I’m heavy! It’s hard work! This guy here is a phenomenal talent.”
Joshua then led a “hip, hip, hooray!” chant for Usyk with the crowd before continuing.
“I was studying Ukraine and all the champions that have come from your amazing country. I ain’t never been there, but at the same time, what’s happening there is — I don’t know what’s happening, but it’s not nice at the end of the day.”
He went on about past problems in Ukraine, talking to Vasiliy Lomachenko, who was in Usyk’s corner. Usyk just sort of kept trying to look on here, and Joshua wrapped up without any actual incident.
So a strange moment, sure, but one of emotion. I think it came from a rattled but genuine place, and that he didn’t mean any of it to be disrespectful, though it’s easy to see how people will take it that way.