Anthony Joshua: “I had two fights, one with Usyk and one with my emotions and both got the better of me”; Joshua lost a split decision to Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah
Anthony Joshua lost his temper after losing his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk and reacted angrily by throwing two belts and arguing with his team
Anthony Joshua has vowed “to be better” after admitting to losing control of his emotions in defeat to Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua threw Usyk’s world title belts to the ground and then stormed out of the ring following his split-decision defeat in Jeddah, only to return and launch into a remarkable speech that has been criticised by many.
The Englishman, noted throughout his career for his composure inside and outside the ring, lost control after Oleksandr Usyk secured a second consecutive victory over him to defend the unified WBO, WBA and IBF titles.
Joshua seized the microphone to vent his emotions in a passionate two-minute speech before the champion had a chance to address the crowd.
Oleksandr Usyk used his classy skills to win a split decision after an enthralling rematch with Anthony Joshua. Watch the full repeat of Usyk v Joshua on Tuesday at 10pm on Sky Sports, Sky Sports YouTube, SkySports.com or the Sky Sports App
“I’m stealing this Usyk, I’m sorry, but it’s because of the passion we put into this,” Joshua said during his outburst.
But writing on Instagram on Sunday, Joshua admitted he let himself down.
He wrote: “I wish @usykaa continued success in your quest for greatness. You are a class act champ.
“Yesterday I had to mentally take myself into a dark place to compete for the championship belts! I had two fights, one with Usyk and one with my emotions and both got the better of me.
“I’ll be the first to admit, I let myself down. I acted out of pure passion and emotion and when not controlled it ain’t great.
“I love this sport so so much and I’ll be better from this point on. Respect.”
The third defeat of his professional career clearly hit Joshua hard.
Speaking in the early hours at the post-fight press conference, the former champion was still overcome with emotion. Attempting to explain how he felt, he faltered as he choked back tears, holding his head in his hands.
“I don’t feel anything,” he said at first, as he tried to come to terms with the effect of the loss, before he had to admit, “I’m upset deep down in my heart.”
Explaining his behaviour following the fight when he flung two championship belts from the ring, and momentarily marched out of the arena, he said: “I was mad at myself. Not at anyone, just at myself. So I thought I’ve got to get out of here because I’m mad. Like anyone when you’re angry, you might do stupid things. Then I realised, this is sport. Let me do the right thing.
“Then I just spoke from my heart,” he continued. “It’s been so tough. You see AJ holding it together and I’m a hustler so I try and hold things together and I try and work hard, put things together, make sure my team’s good. But it comes at a cost, a big cost. It’ll never break me, but it takes real strength for it not to break you.
“There’s a little crack in that armour. Because I took a loss and I think you just saw me upset.
“I’m a fighter,” he added, “I’m not a normal person, even though I try to hold it together.
“I was just in war mode.”