Joshua: I miss the days that I hurt my rivals

LONDON, England — Anthony Joshua has said he wants to use his power and size advantage over Oleksandr Usyk when the two meet in a rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in August.

Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs), 32, will attempt to reclaim his World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) heavyweight titles when he faces Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), 35, on Aug. 20. Neither man has competed since Usyk’s unanimous decision win over Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.

Despite earning a comfortable win, Usyk suffered a deep cut over his right eye late in that fight, which Joshua seemed to enjoy inflicting.

“Hairstyle [el de Usyk] he’s different, and he has a scar on his eye,” Joshua said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“I was reminiscing, I cut out some people’s faces: Paul Butlin, Usyk, I split his lip on [Kubrat] Pulev.

“I just scratched [Andy] Ruiz, he doesn’t count because I mean breaking faces properly. I like those things, I never had a style, I just adapted.

“One of my strengths was my power, but I always wanted to go down that path of being a clean boxer, ‘hit and don’t get hit,’ especially if I want to have a long and successful career.”

“You need to have a good defense, but I got away from the cutthroat side of boxing where I knew I could punch and stun people. And I miss the days when I would slash people’s faces and hurt them for sure. So I’m looking forward to go back to that.”

The rematch in August will be Joshua’s 12th world title fight since he first became heavyweight champion in 2016 with a win over Charles Martin. However, it will be his first without manager Robert McCracken, whom Joshua parted ways with after the loss to Usyk in September.

McCracken oversaw Joshua’s training as an amateur and helped him win Olympic boxing gold at London 2012 before continuing to guide him as he entered the professional ranks soon after. Instead, the Briton will be trained by Robert Garcia for the Usyk rematch.

“In terms of Rob not being in camp, that’s fine. No problem,” Joshua said. “Boxing is boxing… a different environment was needed at the time, so that’s fine, no problem. I knew what I wanted to do. They didn’t force me, it was my own decision.”

Joshua said he believed he was beating Usyk during their first fight in September, which Usyk won unanimously based on the judge’s scores.

“I swear I thought I was [ganando la pelea.] I thought I looked like Muhammad Ali there,” Joshua said.

“Throughout the fight, I thought I was winning, but at that point I knew I was close. I thought at that point I was okay in the fight because it didn’t seem like there was any real communication about where I was at. I’m like, ‘You’re losing. this fight… you’re down by two rounds.’ I didn’t understand that.

“I don’t blame anyone for saying that, but I didn’t get the impression that I was losing the fight. I thought we were cool on that. So when they announced the name, I was like, ‘Huh?’

“It was all just ‘that’s it, keep going.’ So he was jabbing and jagging. It was hard to accept afterward. Now when I look at him again, I think he won by three rounds, probably from the ninth and up.”

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Joshua: I miss the days that I hurt my rivals

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