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‘It killed me’ – Anthony Joshua vows to ‘redeem’ himself against Usyk after having his pride ‘hurt’ by lopsided defeat

ANTHONY JOSHUA admits his lopsided defeat to Oleksandr Usyk ‘hurt’ his pride as he had no excuses to fall back on.

The Watford warrior lost the unified heavyweight titles after being turned over by the undefeated Ukrainian in their Tottenham tussle last September.

Anthony Joshua suffered a lopsided points defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last September

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Anthony Joshua suffered a lopsided points defeat to Oleksandr Usyk last SeptemberCredit: MARC ASPLAND
The undefeated Usyk ripped the unified heavyweight titles from AJ's clutches

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The undefeated Usyk ripped the unified heavyweight titles from AJ’s clutchesCredit: GETTY
And the devastating defeat 'hurt' Joshua's pride

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And the devastating defeat ‘hurt’ Joshua’s prideCredit: REUTERS

But unlike his spectacular stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr two-and-half years ago, defeat to slick southpaw Usyk has been a hard pill to swallow for AJ.

The 32-year-old told Sky Sports: “I belong on the big stage.

“I belong as a champion, I belong among the names of this current generation. You will see why.

“If I didn’t fight the best, I may not have lost. People have high expectations of me and I have high expectations of myself.

“That is why I feel like when I lost the first time I didn’t make any excuses.

“But I had my reason and I always felt cool because I took my loss because I knew I would get it back so I just brushed that one away.

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“But this one hurt because I was at 100%, no problems, everything was cool and I just lost to the better man on the night.”

Defeat to the former undisputed cruiserweight king has lit a fire under Joshua, who has vowed to rise to the top again after mentally picking himself off the canvas.

He said: “It gave me motivation to pull myself out of that position where mentally it killed me.

“I have fought my way back and I will redeem myself.”

Joshua will have a new-look coaching team in place for his spring rematch with Usyk, although it’s currently unknown if he’s parted ways with long-time trainer Rob McCracken.

During an appearance at Expo 2020 in Dubai, Joshua said: “I’m a loyal character. I believe loyalty’s important.

“I’ve been based in Sheffield and had a good chat with my coach and I wanna try some new things, I wanna try a new environment.

“Maybe I can do a training camp in Dubai, maybe I can do a training camp in Africa, in America – just a new environment to get inspired again and to take the heavyweight division by storm.”

Anthony Joshua has vowed to redeem himself in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua has vowed to redeem himself in his rematch with Oleksandr UsykCredit: MARC ASPLAND

“New environment, work with some good coaches and just go to war. It’s a warrior mindset.”

SunSport understands Joshua’s potentially do-or-die rematch with Uysk is currently slated for late March or early April.

An official announcement is expected to be made in the coming weeks.

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