On Saturday, Anthony Joshua faced Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch for his heavyweight titles against a second loss.
The two faced off in a clash of titans which saw the 35-year-old Ukrainian defend his title.
In a 12-round contest, Usyk remained largely consistent in his effort to retain his title with a split decision.
Joshua threw everything in his arsenal to knock down Usyk, who managed to hold his ground and counter with a series of hard punches.
In the ninth round, Joshua was able to turn the tide, bombarding Usyk with a plethora of punches, frustrating the Ukrainian.
However, Oleksandr Usyk got the fight back in his favor, beating Joshua in the process.
The match ended with Usyk scoring 115-113 and 116-112 from two judges while one favored Joshua at 115-113.
Usyk retained his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.
Joshua’s reaction after the match
After a second straight loss to Usyk, Anthony Joshua picked up two of the winner’s belts and threw them out of the ring before heading to his locker room.
Joshua then returned to the ring with a microphone to deliver an emotional speech.
“If you knew my story, you would understand the passion,” said Joshua. He also spoke of Usyk, saying:
“I’m telling you this guy 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.”
At a post-match press conference, Joshua broke down in tears and shared that he was frustrated with his performance.
“It’s really, really hard for me to say I’m proud of myself,” he explained. “I’m upset, really, deep down in my heart.”
Anthony Joshua has also revealed what led to his outburst after the game.
“When you try and do things from your heart, not everyone is going to understand. It was just from the heart,” said Joshua.
“I knew I was mad at myself. Not at anyone, just myself. I was like, I got to get out here because I’m mad.”
“When you’re angry, you might do stupid things, so I was mad. But then I realized this is sport, let me do the right thing.”
“I’m a fighter for life. The hunger never dies.”
Usyk’s victory comes against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a war in which he is personally invested.
When the invasion began, the 35-year-old returned to Ukraine and joined the Territorial Defense Battalion in Kyiv to help with the war effort.
In March, he was cleared to return to training and prepare for the rematch with Anthony Joshua, but he was reluctant to return at the time.
After the fight, Usyk gave a speech with a translator who said:
“I devote this victory to my country, to my family, to my team, to all the people, militaries who are defending the country. Thank you very, very much.”
“This is already history,” he continued.
“Many generations are going to watch this fight, especially the round when someone tried to beat me hard. But I (withstood) it and turned it in a different way.”
Oleksandr Usyk also made it clear that he wants to fight Tyson Fury a week after the WBC heavyweight champion said he was ready to “get away” from boxing.
“I’m sure that Tyson Fury is not retired yet. I’m sure. I’m convinced he wants to fight me. I want to fight him,” said Usyk.
“If I’m not fighting Tyson Fury, I’m not fighting at all.”