Usyk: It was a really tough fight for me; Then at the hotel I fell asleep sitting
Oleksandr Usyk disagrees that his unanimous points victory over Anthony Joshua last year was child’s play.
While Usyk won the WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles in largely dominant fashion over Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London in September, the Ukrainian heavyweight clarified in a recent interview that Joshua turned out to be a formidable enemy.
The proof? After the fight, at the hotel, Usyk said he dozed off while sitting.
“It was a really tough fight for me,” Usyk said. “Everyone keeps saying it was an easy walk, but no, it wasn’t. It was a hard fight for him and for me. After the fight, I came back to the hotel and took some food and fell asleep sitting [up].”
Usyk’s left-paw straight lefts, nimble footwork and feints kept Joshua staggering all night of their 12-round affair. Sometimes Joshua even looked completely confused. Towards the end of the 12th round, Usyk was shaking the British star left and right with powerful punches. The completeness of Usyk’s victory naturally lent the perception that Usyk had been close to victory. As Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, commanded the action, his face reflected the kind of damage he had taken from the bigger Joshua.
The long-awaited heavyweight rematch between Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) is scheduled for August 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on DAZN Pay-Per-View.
The revenge, originally scheduled for the spring, almost did not take place. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February forced Usyk to return to his country and enlist in the army. After several weeks, however, Usyk, due to relentless urgings from his friends and compatriots, decided that he could be of more use to his country defending his titles than, say, sitting in the basement of a building.
“All I did was pray,” Usyk said. “I didn’t want to leave Ukraine, but I visited my friends in the army and visited them in the hospital. Everyone was asking me to participate in this fight, to take revenge and to fight for the whole Ukrainian country. Even my wife, I wanted to send her and my children out of Ukraine, but she said she wouldn’t go. [She said,] “I wouldn’t go and that’s it.”