By Charles Brun: Frank Smith of MatchroomBoxing says Anthony Joshua wants to “smash up” Oleksandr Usyk, and he’s focused on winning back his lost titles from the Ukrainian fighter.
Smith and the other Matchroom brass are still working out where to stage the Joshua vs. Usyk rematch, which is expected to occur in the UK. Eddie Hearn wants the fight to happen in the UK, and it’s easy to see why.
Joshua needs the home country advantage because they can’t afford him freezing up mentally on the night as he did in his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York.
Although AJ had the size and power on his size against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), it didn’t help him.
Joshua benefitted from having fought last time in the UK, but it didn’t help him against the more talented Usyk.
And even if somehow Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) can get the upper hand on the smaller, weaker Usyk in the early going, the chances of him continuing to control the contest in the second half are slim.
I would note that Usyk would have knocked Joshua out the last time they fought if not for his trainer Anatoliy Lomachenko telling him just box.
When Usyk went for broke in the 12th round, he had Joshua close to being knocked out in the final seconds. If there had been another 20 seconds left in the round, Usyk would have stopped Joshua.
Hearn hoping Joshua can revert to old style
“I think so or revert to his old style,” said Eddie Hearn to TalkSport when asked if Joshua will need to change his fighting style for him to beat Usyk.
“I think a lot of people told him in that first fight that he couldn’t outbox Usyk, and for some reason, he wanted to prove them wrong and try and do that.
“It’s not as easy for Oleksandr Usyk to change his style, walk forward and be reckless because he’s a pound-for-pound great,” said Hearn.
The old-style that Joshua used in the past only worked against lesser opposition. When Joshua fought aggressively against Wladimir Klitschko, he was dropped. Likewise, Joshua was knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr. in their first fight when he tried to KO him in the first three rounds.
“We’re working through it now. Someone asked me earlier about the timeframes. In an event of this magnitude, it does take a period of time to get the details together,” said Frank Smith to Boxing Social when asked when the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch will be taking place.
“He wants to fight the best, and he’s shown that time and time again,” said Smith about Joshua. “Going in against Usyk, he could have vacated his belt, but he wants to fight the best. He doesn’t get the credit for that, in my opinion,” said Smith.
It’s no secret that the Joshua vs. Usyk rematch will be taking place in the UK, even though the fight can probably make a lot more money if they stage it in the Middle East.
Joshua wants to “SMASH” Usyk
“He just wants to go back in there and smash Usyk up,” said Smith about Joshua. “It’s our job as his promoters to give him plans and options, but his focus was always to go back in there and do a job against Oleksandr Usyk,” said Smith.
It’s too bad Joshua, 32, is so stubbornly focused on taking the rematch because he’s going to regret that he made this decision.
Tyson Fury says Joshua was the one that messed up the step aside deal by asking for more money, which is silly because they were doing him a favor by offering him that deal.
The whole step aside was to protect Joshua and keep his career going long enough to fight Fury. No one believes that Joshua will win the rematch with Usyk.
Just stepping aside for free would have made Joshua massive money in the long run because it would have kept him in the game long enough to fight the Fury-Usyk winner.
“We’re working through options now,” said Smith. “We’re dealing with K2 and Alex Krassyuk, Egis Klimas, and all of Usyk’s team and AJ’steam as well to get the plans in place. I think in the next two or three weeks that’ll all play out.
“There’s a few,” said Smith when asked where the location will be for the Joshua vs. Usyk rematch. “Yeah,” said Smith when asked if the UK is a possibility for the rematch. “There are some other things we’re looking at as well.
“I’m the quiet one. I just do the work in the background. There are a lot of options being worked through. We are obviously at the period of time where certain discussions were playing out.
“Now it’s good to have that focus 100% on that fight [Usyk] getting made and AJ getting his belts back,” said Smith.