Anthony Joshua exclusive: ‘The talking’s done and it’s time to deliver... I refuse to lose Usyk rematch’

·3 min read
Anthony Joshua exclusive: ‘The talking’s done and it’s time to deliver... I refuse to lose Usyk rematch’

I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long, long time. People have called it revenge or redemption.

They can call it what they like but I don’t see it like that. It’s just a fight and we’re in the final hours before Oleksandr Usyk and I step back into the ring again for the second part of our war.

He has bulked up and clearly worked hard since we last met in September. Plus, tomorrow night he will have the whole of Ukraine behind him after what has been a really tough time for him and the country which is still ongoing.

What we have in common is that we both want to put on a great fight for the fans who’ve travelled all over the world to be here. They deserve that much.

I’ve been here five weeks now with my team, and you can feel the city filling up. I heard it’s hard to get a flight in now, the hotels are getting busier every day and there’s digital billboards all over the city of Jeddah of both of us. I’m afraid you can’t escape us here!

For me, tomorrow night can’t come soon enough. We’ve done a lot of talking but I’m done talking now. It’s time to deliver.

Some people can make boxing sound incredibly complex but, when you strip it down, it’s very simple. It just takes one punch to down an opponent, and that’s it, the fight is done.

I have that one punch in my armoury — you’ve seen that countless times in my career — but I’m ready to go the full 12 rounds like last time if that’s required. I’ve worked for every eventuality.

A big shout-out to all my sparring partners who’ve lined up to face me and there have been a lot of them. Southpaws to match Usyk, technical fighters, the big, powerful guys. It’s a long old list and they’ve all pushed me to be better.

I don’t know if I’ve ever sparred so much before a fight but it’s exactly what I needed and I’ve come through it all unscathed. There have been no blemishes, so the confidence is sky high.

The five weeks here have been great, I’ve prepared exactly as I’d have liked and I feel ready in this calm before the storm tomorrow night.

Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk in a huge heavyweight rematch in Saudi Arabia (AP)
Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk in a huge heavyweight rematch in Saudi Arabia (AP)

As a boxer, you always set a goal of what you want to achieve in the ring. The belts are nice but it’s the win that matters and I know I’ll be disciplined enough this time to do what it takes.

It’s a must-win fight but, whatever the result, I’m not done. After Usyk, there are other great heavyweights lining up to fight me.

In the build-up to this bout, I’ve worked hard in the gym amid all the interviews. But that’s all done. These final hours are a time to relax, unwind, fuel up and get myself mentally ready for the 12 rounds. Physically, I’m already there.

The competitive spirit starts building up in those final hours to a crescendo before the ring walk, and finally we go to war again.

I don’t care how I do it, I just want to win. I’ll do whatever it takes to get that result. Simply put, I refuse to lose.

Joshua’s heavyweight rematch against Usyk is tomorrow, live on Sky Sports Box Office.