Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk refused to look away from each other during an intense face-off between the pair ahead of the world heavyweight title rematch.
The last time Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua were together in London the former had just handed the latter a punishing 12-round defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to dethrone the champion and take the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles.
The fighters returned to the capital for a press conference on Wednesday ahead of their August 20 rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Joshua is on a revenge mission. He insisted he is determined to win this second fight: “I’m definitely hungry, I’m definitely desperate. But at the end of the day how I perform will speak volumes to the masses.
“I’m definitely desperate to get my hands on [the titles]. Just let me get in there and do my job.”
Usyk was focused on the task at hand too, saying: “I’m not fighting for money or for recognition. Many people want the recognition, many people want others to remember them. But I don’t need this. I don’t want to become ‘the great’. I’m just doing my job now and I will continue doing it while my heart is beating.”
He is expecting a different approach from Joshua in their second fight. “I do understand that he’s going to be different. So will I,” warned Usyk.
Joshua’s new trainer Robert Garcia emphasised the physical advantages Joshua has against this opponent.
“[Usyk] is a very talented fighter. He’s got different ways to fight. Seeing the size difference, the height, the reach, the weight, everything’s in Anthony’s advantage. We’ve got to take advantage of that,” Garcia said.”We have to do whatever it takes. We have to come out with different strategies in case one of them does work.”
That is more easily said than done. Even Joshua had to admit that Usyk’s left-handed, southpaw stance makes him an unorthodox opponent.
“It’s a rough and tough sport, especially fighting these lefties. They’re a nightmare,” Joshua admitted. “But it is what it is, isn’t it? You’ve got to dig deep, tuck up and not make the same mistake twice.”