Anthony Joshua opens up about mental struggles after loss to Alexander Usyk, but vows: ‘I will redeem myself’
Joshua surrendered the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in September after a 12-round masterclass by Usick.
This was AJ’s second defeat to date, after he was knocked out in seven rounds by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019.
Joshua, 32, then defeated Ruiz, 32, in a rematch six months later – and is now planning a similar vendetta against Usyak, 34.
He told Sky Sports: “I have high hopes for myself.
“So I felt like when I lost the first time I never made an excuse but I had reason.
“I took my loss but I knew I would get it back. So I just brushed up on it. But it hurt because I was 100 percent.
“There was no problem. Everything was good. I just went out there and lost the night to the better man, and it hurt.
“But it inspired me to get myself out of that situation. Mentally it killed me, and I fought my way back, and I would redeem myself.”
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Joshua has been left questioning his training team after a comprehensive loss to Usyak.
AJ has since spent time in the US, visiting several gyms and coaches, before his contracted rematch with Ukraine this year.
During a recent trip to Dubai, he was also spotted at the gym with the 44-year-old boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.
Joshua has not yet confirmed whether he will replace head coach Rob McCracken or join his training team.
But he acknowledged that there is no room for error now, with a chance to reclaim his heavy throne on the horizon.
I am on the big stage. I am a champion. I am one of the names of this current generation.
Joshua said: “Let’s focus on what is needed. It has to come from top to bottom. I am the last piece of the puzzle. I am the last performance.”
“So we’re talking about game-planning, mindset, brain training, our approach to contention and what we’re getting out of it.
“The diet needs, the sleep, the recovery, the mindset training I’ve been doing listening to music, motivational speeches, and stuff like that.
“It’s the biggest phase of my career, fighting for the world heavyweight championship.
“I’m on the big stage. I’m in for a champion. I’m one of the names of this current generation.
“If I didn’t fight the best, I probably would never have lost [in my career], I know people have high expectations of me too, and I think that’s why they’re so surprised [when I lose],