Anthony Joshua falls by split decision in Oleksandr Usyk rematch
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Anthony Joshua’s trainer Angel Fernandez has backed the Watford powerhouse to beat Oleksandr Usyk in a trilogy bout. Joshua was beaten by the Ukrainian via a points decision for a second time on August 20 at the King Abdullah Sport City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
AJ showed marked improvements and was given the nod on one of the three scorecards, although the consensus is that he lost the fight by two to four rounds. Despite a spirited display he was ultimately overcome down the final stretch as Usyk poured on the pressure in the championship rounds.
But with a greater understanding of the threats The Cat poses Fernandez is confident his man will get it right at the third time of asking.
“If there’s a third fight against Usyk he will definitely beat him,” Fernandez told iFL TV. “I think he’s starting to understand a lot more things. We just have to focus on ourselves. Rebuild AJ and hopefully down the line, the end of next year, we get to see Fury-AJ or God knows, we might get to see another fight against Usyk, we might see another fight against Andy Ruiz. So there are great fights out there for Anthony.”
Fernandez noted that the loss was an especially tough pill to swallow given how Joshua performed through to round nine. During the ninth, Joshua appeared to have his adversary hurt and on the back foot. But an unbelievable response from Usyk in the final three rounds halted AJ’s progress.
“It’s disappointing,” Fernandez added. “Yes, there were some improvements. But I’ve always been harsh on myself … all we wanted is the win. The general feeling is disappointment. You have to understand that if the fight would’ve ended at round nine, we would’ve won the fight. So, the true reality is somehow, yes, we were ahead.
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“We have to rebuild the man. Mentally, technically, physically, you know, look at the things we have to improve as a team and make them better next time. We wish we could have done better that night but it’s easier said than done.”
Joshua is now expected to face Tyson Fury next on December 3 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Usyk was due to do battle with The Gypsy King next but won’t be available until February 2023, prompting Fury to pursue Joshua instead.
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