Anthony Joshua is hell-bent on avenging his most recent defeat and reclaiming his unified heavyweight title status.
The Nigeria-born has done it before and is in a position where it is once again necessary and crucial to his career.
What Joshua (24-2, 22KOs) really strives for even more so than exacting revenge on Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs) is bringing stability to his career once the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles are back in his possession.
“Someone said to me ‘You got the chance to become a three-time heavyweight champion of the world.’ I said that it’s not really where you want to be,” Joshua admitted during the London leg of a two-city press tour to promote the August 20 rematch with Usyk. “It’s not a route I would advise young people to travel. You want to keep it, stay there and keep it.”
Joshua is presented with the unique scenario of twice regaining the unified heavyweight crown on Saudi Arabia soil. The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and two-time titlist traveled to Diriyah to outpoint Andy Ruiz in December 2019, six months after the Mexican heavyweight knocked out Joshua in the seventh-round of their historic June 2019 clash at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The rematch saw Joshua successfully avenge his lone defeat at the time, handling an out-of-shape Ruiz to bring the WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles back to England.
Just one successful defense came of his second reign, a ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev in December 2020. From there came his WBO mandatory title defense against Usyk, who claimed a twelve-round, unanimous decision win last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London.
Changes were made in Joshua’s training camp, including his bringing on board renowned cornerman Robert Garcia. The idea is less about reinventing the wheel and more so getting back to what made him such an imposing figure during his rise through the heavyweight ranks.
“I’m definitely desperate to get my hands back on [the titles],” insists Joshua. “Too much talking for me. Less talking, more action. Let me just get in there and do my job. I’m not a comedian, not someone who writes speeches.
“I’m definitely hungry, definitely desperate. At the end of the day, how I perform will speak volumes to the masses.”