Atlas: Joshua Accepts Defeat Too Easily, Like a Guy That Made Too Much Money

Veteran trainer and boxing analyst, Teddy Atlas, believes two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is a bit too gracious in defeat. 

Back in June 2019, Joshua was shocked when he lost his unified crown to huge underdog Andy Ruiz, who dropped the British star four times for a stoppage win in seven rounds.

Six months later, Joshua regained his titles when he boxed his way to a twelve round decision win over Ruiz.

In 2021, Joshua was once again struck with a setback, when Oleksandr Uysk outboxed him over twelve for a unanimous decision victory to capture the IBF, WBO, IBO, WBA titles.

Atlas – who worked with several top fighters like former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson, Alexander Povetkin and Michael Moorer – feels Joshua accepts defeat too easily.

“Joshua, he’s made too much money,” Atlas said on his podcast The Fight. “I do [think that]. He accepts defeat too easily, too graciously – I want a good winner and a good loser, don’t get me wrong.

“I believe as much as anybody, if not more than most people, about that, about showing that kind of graciousness whether you win or lose, but he’s too gracious when it comes to it. Like a guy that made too much money.”

Joshua has exercised an immediate rematch clause, with the second fight with Usyk being positioned for dates in April.

The twice-beaten boxer has promised to get revenge.

“The learning is done, it’s war, straight war. I’m boiling up inside even speaking about it. [Usyk] has had like 400 amateur fights, he’s seen people that have tried to rough him up, millions of times, so to just try and adapt to one [game plan] is silly,” Atlas said.

“But for me I have one thing in my mind; that’s war, that’s murder, that’s war. That’s go out there and hurt the guy, and take his soul to the point where he wants to give up.”

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Wilder’s Coach: Joshua Needs To Impose Himself, But Usyk May Just Have His Number

Malik Scott, the head trainer of former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, says Anthony Joshua must impose himself in order to defeat a boxer like Oleksandr Usyk.

Last September, the smaller Usyk was able to outbox Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles.

The two are scheduled to collide in a rematch in the first quarter of this year.

“I usually don’t have the answer that most casuals use. I try to go another way. Most casuals wouldn’t know a left hook from a fish hook, but what most casuals and boxing people are saying, I have to agree with,” Scott told ES News.

“He can’t be that big and have the ability to impose himself and not impose himself on one of the smallest fighters he’s ever fought. This is the perfect time for him to use his good positioning, his size, his strength that he’s blessed with physically and mentally.”

Back in 2019, Joshua was dropped four times in his seven round stoppage loss at the hands of Andy Ruiz. Six months later, Joshua was able to get revenge when he stayed at a distance and outboxed Ruiz over twelve rounds for a unanimous decision win.

Scott explains that Usyk’s style might be too much for Joshua to overcome. He believes Usyk will once again come away with the win.

“I think Joshua might be dealing with someone who has his number. I don’t think this is Andy Ruiz where you can just fight off the back foot and win,” Scott said.

“I think Usyk may have AJ’s number and if I was a betting man I would bet that the rematch would be more interesting but I still would go for Usyk for the victory.”

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Groves: Usyk is The Best Talent in The Heavyweight Division

Former super middleweight champion George Groves has a lot of respect for the fighting ability of unbeaten Oleksandr Usyk.

During his pro run, the Olympic gold medal winner became the undisputed world champion in the cruiserweight division – the first to do so in the four belt era.

In September, Usyk reached another major milestone when he outboxed Anthony Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles.

A rematch is already in play for the first quarter of 2022 – with dates in April being explored.

While Joshua is going to do everything possible to improve his game in order to regain his belts, Groves believes it could be tough because Usyk could improve his game as well.

“Anthony Joshua is definitely still up there as one of the best, and one of the top three in the world. I think he defeats Deontay Wilder and beats the other guys coming through. But we now have to see how much desire he still has. It will be extremely difficult to get back to that No 1 spot, but never say never in the heavyweight division. It only takes one punch,” Groves said to Sky Sports.

“He might be able to make some changes, make some adjustments and come back even stronger. It could be very tough to defeat Oleksandr Usyk. I think Usyk might improve from his first fight against Joshua.

“Usyk is the best talent in the heavyweight division. He’s the only legitimate heavyweight who could go in a pound-for-pound rating. He doesn’t win his fights because he’s 6’9″ and 20st. He wins his fights because he’s got great ability.”

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Froch: Joshua Has All of The Physical Attributes Needed To Win Usyk Rematch

Former super middleweight champion Carl Froch explains that Anthony Joshua has all of the necessary attributes to turn things around in a rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

In September, Usyk outboxed Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBO, WBA titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua has exercised an immediate rematch clause, with dates in April being explored for the second contest.

There is talk of Joshua hiring a new head trainer for the fight – or at the very least expand his team with an additional veteran coach.

Joshua has been trained by Robert McCracken since the amateur ranks.

Froch, who himself was trained by McCracken as a pro, believes Joshua should avoid the scenario of making changes to his current team.

“I think Anthony Joshua needs to rediscover the same explosive style and ruthless instinct that he showed in that win over Wladimir Klitschko. He’s bigger, stronger with more height and reach than Oleksandr Usyk. He’s got all the physical attributes needed to win that fight. He must rekindle the fire that brought some destructive wins earlier in his career. He is big enough and powerful enough to beat anybody, especially Usyk who is much smaller in comparison,” Froch told Sky Sports.

“AJ has talked about adding new trainers, but I think he should just remain with Rob McCracken and instead make his team smaller. That’s what worked for me, I worked with Rob throughout my career, but I’m not Anthony Joshua. I was meticulous, I thought about a lot, but I put a lot of trust in my coach. My belief in my coach was unquestionable.”

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Usyk On Being Undisputed: It Will Be a Very Loud Statement From Me

Oleksandr Usyk is closing out 2021 as one of the top fighters in the sport.

Back in September, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion became a two-division beltholder when he outboxed betting favorite Anthony Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua has since exercised an immediate rematch clause, with a rematch being positioned for the first quarter of 2022.

“My life has changed, but my rules definitely did not. I still live by my own principles and standards. In terms of recognition, yes. I’ve been in a couple of European countries after the win, and it’s been a lot more people coming up to me,” Usyk explained to Forbes.

While many had expected Usyk to get toppled prior to the first meeting, many view him as the favorite in the rematch.

Usyk’s goal right now is to beat Joshua and then go after the fourth belt, which is the WBC title currently held by Tyson Fury.

“My mental state was fine before the fight with Joshua as it was after. I always knew what I was working toward. I was going straight up to my goals. Of course, it can change. That’s how things are. The victory happens and people are changing their [views about me], and it’s their right. However, I felt before Joshua that I would just keep working on my state of being prepared,” Usyk said.

“If I get those four belts, it will be a very loud statement from me.”

For the last few months, there is talk of Joshua incorporating a new trainer into his team – to either lead the way or work side by side with Robert McCracken. Usyk does not seem concerned.

“I’m not worried if Joshua is ready to fight. Oleksandr is ready for any kind of fight,” Usyk said. “Of course, he’s going to change everything. Everything will be new.”

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Frazer Clarke: Joshua is Someone Whose Career I’m Really Trying To Emulate

Olympic bronze medal winner Frazer Clarke is hoping to follow in the footsteps of another British Olympian, former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

Clarke and Joshua are friends – with Frazer signing an agreement with Joshua’s management company, 258.

Clarke, who turns pro in 2022, also signed a long-term promotional deal with BOXXER and Sky Sports.

“[Joshua] messaged after the Olympics, congratulating me, and when I signed with 258, obviously that brought us a bit closer together. He was over the moon for me and happy for me,” Frazer told Sky Sports.

“I’ve made it quite clear that’s someone whose career I’m really trying to emulate. I’ve seen it from day one and I’ve seen the work he’s put in, and the way he’s progressed. The way he was moved and matched was, for me, one of the best careers I’ve seen unfold in boxing. I’ve been a boxing fan for a long time.

“He’s on the end of a phone and he’s one of those people that have been there and done it. I’d be silly to have that access to him and not use that advice. Definitely that will be a phone call I’m looking forward to.”

Promoter Ben Shalom of BOXXER is planning to move Clarke, 30-years-old, a bit faster than a normal prospect due to his age and amateur background.

“He’s got everything to go all the way. There’s champions around, but he’s going to be coming through. In the next 12-18 months, there’s going to be big opportunities for him,” Shalom said.

“He’s got all the experience he needed and he got his Olympic medal, which he always wanted. He had a lot of wins in the amateurs. He won Commonwealth gold, he’s now got his Olympic medal. The timing is perfect.”

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Usyk vs. Joshua Rematch Still on Track For April, Says Hearn

Eddie Hearn, promoter for former two-time heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, says the rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is still on track to take place in April 2022.

Back in September, Usyk outboxed Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the WBA, WBO, IBF, IBO titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua would then exercise an immediate rematch clause.

“Obviously not much other than we got to get together and decide a date. April is realistic for that fight and where it’s going to be,” Hearn told IFL TV.

“AJ is the type that fights twice a year, and sometimes we feel like it would be nice to fight three times a year. We’ve had offers from around the world, but I think the UK will stage that fight.”

According to Hearn, there won’t be any discussions of a step-aside deal.

There was some chatter regarding the possibility of Joshua stepping aside in order to allow Usyk the opportunity to face WBC champion Tyson Fury in a full division unification.

But, the WBC ordered Fury to make a mandatory defense against Dillian Whyte. Those negotiations have stalled – as Whyte is currently engaged in a legal battle with the sanctioning body.

“We have to sit down with [Usyk’s manager] Alex Krassyuk, and we’ll get Christmas out of the way and we’ll start moving forward with that because it’s time to start planning for that,’ Hearn said.

“Obviously, there were a couple of discussions about step asides and those kinds of fights. So we’ll have to see. But that looks very unlikely now because obviously of the Dillian Whyte situation, which AJ is pleased about.

“He didn’t want to have those conversations unless I presented them to him. So if that’s not the case, he moves forward with what he wants, which is the Oleksandr Usyk rematch.”

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Top Rank Prez: I Think Fury and Joshua Will Fight at Least Once – People Want To See It

Top Rank president Todd DuBoef, who co-promotes WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, expects his boxer to face Anthony Joshua at some point in the future.

At the moment Fury’s handlers are in talks for a mandatory defense against Dillian Whyte in early 2022.

And Joshua will attempt to reclaim the WBO, IBF, WBA, IBO world titles from Oleksandr Usyk, also in the early part of next year. Back in September, Usyk outboxed Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the unified crown.

If all goes well, Fury will retain his title and then face the victor of Usyk-Joshua in the summer.

Win or lose against Usyk, DuBoef believes the public will still be very interested in a potential fight between Joshua and Fury.

“I would love to see Fury against Joshua, Usyk and Whyte,” said DuBoef to Sky Sports.

“It’s about what the people want to see. Regardless of the order – Fury vs Joshua is what the people want to see. Regardless of one guy getting out-boxed one night, it doesn’t matter because they each have great fanbases and personalities.

“We, as people involved, owe the people to serve what they want. I think Fury and Joshua will fight at least once, because the people want it. If Joshua and Usyk do the rematch and Usyk looks sensational again, then maybe the public will say, ‘We want Fury vs Usyk’. Joshua says he had an off-night. He has to establish his dominance, like he did against Andy Ruiz Jr.

“Joshua has to take his career to that elevated state again by erasing his off-night. That is important. He is a great ambassador for the sport and a great champion. The more successful he and Fury are, the more successful boxing is. The dynamic nature of uncertainty creates real interest. Tyson is in a wonderful position. He came in as an opponent for Deontay Wilder who was down and out. His personality has taken over the world.”

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Manager: Usyk Was Only at 60-70%, He Can Really Be Better in Joshua Rematch

Sergey Lapin, who is part of Oleksandr Usyk’s management team, believes his boxer will be an even better fighter in next year’s rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Back in September, Usyk outboxed Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles.

Joshua has since exercised an immediate rematch clause – with their second encounter likely to take place in the first quarter of 2022.

And while Joshua has promised to be an even better fighter in the next fight, Usyk’s manager explains that his boxer was far from 100% in the initial meeting.

“I have known Oleksandr for more than 20 years. I have been there and seen all of his successes in boxing. One thing that sets him apart is he processes information and adapts to the fighter in front of him very, very quickly. It sometimes seems to me that he is from another planet – he is that good,” Lapin told Mybettingsites.

“Despite the fact that he has a huge amount of experience and fights behind him, he is constantly improving and getting better every training day. I have seen and know what Usyk is really capable of, and the version of Usyk in the fight with Anthony Joshua was 60-70 percent of his potential. So yes, Usyk can really be better.”

However, Lapin – who also possesses years of experience as a trainer – felt Joshua looked very good in the September fight.

“To be honest, in the fight with Usyk, I saw the best version of Joshua in years. Joshua is strong-willed and has character. All belts were at stake, and he went all-in, but lost. I don’t understand at all why most boxing skeptics say Joshua’s wrong strategy was the explanation for Usyk’s victory,” Lapin said.

“This victory was not just a lucky blow, as in the fight with Ruiz, it was a victory by all criteria. As for the immediate rematch, right after the end of the 12th round, I heard Anthony say: “Hey, Alex, I know how to beat you, I want a rematch”. Now he will try to take back his title. We are definitely looking forward to a very cool rematch.”

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Zhilei Zhang is Still Hoping For Future Revenge Bout With Anthony Joshua

Unbeaten heavyweight slugger Zhilei Zhang of China is still eager to get revenge on his amateur rival, Anthony Johsua.

Zhang (23-0-1, 18 KOs) captured an Olympic silver medal in the 2008 games. He hoped to capture gold at the 2012 games in London, but he was knocked off by Joshua, who eventually walked away with the gold medal.

Joshua lost his WBO, IBF, IBO, WBA heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk back in September.

There is a rematch clause, with the second contest targeted to take place in the first quarter of 2022.

Zhang believes a fight with Joshua could fill out a massive stadium in China.

Both fighters are promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing – which makes the fight a realistic possibility in the future.

“I would love to fight AJ in China because of our amateur backgrounds,” Zhang told Australia’s Fightmag.

“The venue is there, the Bird’s Nest holds 100,000, so we have it all. Beijing and Shanghai are the biggest cities, very economically developed and boxing in China is growing. The sports fans there like boxing, they like AJ, so if we can make it happen it would be huge for boxing.”

Zhang was in action last month at the Hulu Theater in New York’s Madison Square Garden, as part of the undercard to George Kambosos’ upset win over Teofimo Lopez.

He blew away Craig Lewis in two rounds.

At 38-years-old, time is running out for the 6’6 Zhang. He needs to get moving to secure the big names and world title opportunities. Currently he is ranked at thirteen by the IBF and eighth by the WBO.

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