Nigerian-British boxer Anthony Joshua has pledged to rediscover the aggressive side of his boxing when he faces Oleksandr Usyk in Saturday’s rematch.
He said, “I wanted to outbox my opponent, whether it was Usyk or anyone else, that was the mindset [in the first fight]. I wanted to outbox my opponent and on Saturday I want to smash my opponent. That’s just the mindset now.”
Joshua acknowledges an action-packed, destructive approach had been key for so much of the early success in his career.
“I was amateur for three and a half years and I done a lot in that time and I asked myself how? It wasn’t down to the skill element, because I was outclassed in terms of skill and experience by a lot of my competitors on the world scene, but that aggression,” he reflected.
“That will was something that couldn’t be denied. Then as you get more experience you try to develop as a rounded athlete. But ultimately, you can’t take your eye off the factor of what got you to where you are which is, as you said, that aggressiveness.”
In that sense, Joshua will bring back his old self for this fight with Usyk.
“It’s never really been lost. The path is always there. It’s not like I’m trying to rediscover a path. I always understand where that is. I just tried to be more elusive and add more strings to my bow,” he said.
“I was focusing more on different things in my career, for example having a better jab, hitting and not getting hit. You’ve got to focus on that aggressive aspect, that competitive spirit and at the end of the day, I don’t give a damn about your jab, I don’t care how good that jab is, I don’t care how good this is. I don’t care how good you are – my competitive spirit will overcome all obstacles.
“That is something you should never neglect in your search for improvements. Your competitive nature can take you a long way.”
Against Usyk this time around, Joshua promises to be back with a vengeance.
Victory in this rematch would see Joshua recover the WBO, WBA and IBF titles he lost to Usyk in September.