Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 press conference LIVE: Heavyweights go head-to-head in Jeddah

·15-min read

Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk came face to face in Jeddah on Wednesday ahead of their world heavyweight title rematch. The Briton lost at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September and AJ will hope to repeat his trick after achieving redemption against Andy Ruiz in a rematch in Saudi Arabia. There is the possibility of the winner becoming undisputed champion in the next fight, although Tyson Fury’s most recent retirement clouds the future of the division.

The pair exchanged words earlier, with both men looking calm and relaxed, with just three days remaining, the hard work is done. Both could agree on the value of sparring partners though, with Usyk concurring with his rival, adding “they are the people who make us better”. As Joshua bids to take on the mesmerising and outrageously skilful Usyk once more, AJ underlined his hunger to “compete” and the challenge to meet his own expectations in the ring. The former champion downplayed the significance of the belts, with the WBA, WBO and IBF belts on the line, plus The Ring Magazine belt, which was relinquished by Fury after his announcement he would not fight again.

Joshua may be the underdog, but there is pressure coming from the media and former fighters Johnny Nelson and Carl Froch, who believe this could be his last fight. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who is eyeing up round six as pivotal to the outcome of the fight, maintains the 32-year-old would need to be patient for another shot at the title if he loses again, but that it is far from the end of the road: “He loves what he does, AJ loves to fight. He loves boxing. It will be difficult to get a shot at the world heavyweight title. But why would you even consider retiring from the sport if you lose to the pound-for-pound number one? Unless you just didn’t want to do it anymore.” Recap everything that was said at the press conference from the fighters and their teams below:

Usyk vs Joshua 2 press conference

Oleksandr Usyk sings at final press conference in Saudi Arabia

Wednesday 17 August 2022 15:13 , Jack Rathborn

Oleksandr Usyk looks confidence, so much so that he breaks into song at the end of that press conference.

Dillian Whyte on Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:57 , Jack Rathborn

Dillian Whyte on Usyk vs Joshua: “I expect him to bounce back, I always support my own. I hope AJ gets the job done.

“I can understand the need to be more aggressive. I wasn’t as aggressive in my last fight, I need to rediscover that, and it’s the right mindset for AJ.

“He’ll be extremely nervous, alert and cautious, it’s not a bad thing. It changes everythig for him.

“He might not be feeling as much pressure? But I think he’ll be nervous.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:48 , Jack Rathborn

 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:42 , Jack Rathborn

Joshua interrupts the conclusion of the press conference, makes a special mention for his sparring partners, who he says “push him everyday”.

Usyk agrees: “I want to say how important they [sparring partners] are, these are the people who make us better.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:39 , Jack Rathborn

Usyk: “He learned from me, I learned from him.

“I don’t think it will be all new, the last bout will continue the round 13, 14 and 15.

“We had enough time to study each other. This Saturday will be a great, great fight.

“We were born to compete, for life, belts, for anything.

“The one who does not compete, does not live. All our lives are competition, for anything, something, for somebody. That’s why we’re competing.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:37 , Jack Rathborn

Now it’s Usyk’s turn to speak...

“It’s very important for my country. I’m really happy to be here, it’s my third time in Saudi Arabia.

“I feel like I’ll be here again and again.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:35 , Jack Rathborn

AJ is discussing his month in Saudi, arriving early for the rematch to acclimatise to his surroundings.

“It’s tough, but I’m relishing the challenge,” he says. “Let’s get the job done, god willing, I’ll be victorious.

“It’s competition, I have goals, I need to be disciplined to follow through. It’s competition with yourself, the belts mean something, but that’s at the end.

“I’ll focus on the process first and foremost. I want to compete. I have a competitive spirit.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:32 , Jack Rathborn

“We’re ready to do it,” says Robert Garcia.

“It was a challenge, coming off a loss, doing the gameplan, sparring and everything. The rest of the team did a great job.

“Saturday we’ll walk out with those belts.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:31 , Jack Rathborn

Now it’s the turn of Egis Klimas, Usyk’s manager.

“I’ve never seen anybody, in 45C, ride a bicyle for 100km, somebody swimming before the press conference for 10km, for five hours, somebody holding their breath for four minutes, 40 seconds.

“I asked what’s wrong with you?”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)
Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:29 , Jack Rathborn

Alexander Krassyuk is speaking, saying Usyk has never been in better shape.

He spoke to people in Ukraine during the war and “they wanted him to fight”.

“The whole world needs to know Ukraine is the country of the free, not many men can deliver this message to hundreds of millions.

“Usyk can do this through the sport of boxing. If I start to say how good he is, since I was his promoter, more than nine years, let the history judge how special he is.

“I wish both fighters good luck, may the best man win.”

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:27 , Jack Rathborn

Oleksandr Usyk at the final press conference (Matchroom)
Oleksandr Usyk at the final press conference (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:25 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk attend the press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Matchroom)
Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk attend the press conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Matchroom)

Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:23 , Jack Rathborn

Eddie Hearn is setting up the fight, selling both fighters and their credentials.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:20 , Jack Rathborn

A first? A national anthem before the press conference.

Everybody in attendance rises.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:18 , Jack Rathborn

Usyk, too, in an interesting outfit and haircut to match.

Robert Garcia deep in conversation with AJ, whispering in his ear.

We’re almost ready to go.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:17 , Jack Rathborn

Joshua is here and looks in a good mood as he strolls to the podium.

Anthony Joshua: I would have ‘smoked’ Oleksandr Usyk if he wasn’t a southpaw

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:11 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua has claimed that he would ‘smoke’ Oleksandr Usyk if the Ukrainian were not a southpaw.

Usyk earned a decision win against Joshua in London last September, taking the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles from the Briton in doing so. “AJ” will try to regain the belts and avenge the loss when the pair clash again this Saturday, their rematch taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The consensus among pundits is that Joshua, 32, must take a more aggressive approach than in his first fight with Usyk, 35, but the former champion has explained his tactics from that bout and why implementing aggression is not as easy as it seems.

Anthony Joshua: I would have ‘smoked’ Oleksandr Usyk if he wasn’t a southpaw

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2: Media workouts

Wednesday 17 August 2022 14:02 , Jack Rathborn

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk takes part in a public workout in Jeddah (AP)
Ukraine's Oleksandr Usyk takes part in a public workout in Jeddah (AP)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘I’m the author of my own movie’: Anthony Joshua says he has learnt how to beat Oleksandr Usyk

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:58 , Jack Rathborn

A “re-invented” Anthony Joshua said he is well aware of Oleksandr Usyk’s tricks and knows what he must do to defeat the Ukrainian when they meet in their rematch in Jeddah on 20 August.

Usyk beat Joshua in front of a sell-out crowd at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September to take the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts.

The 32-year-old Briton, who now has a new trainer in American former super-featherweight world champion Robert Garcia, said he learned a lot from his first meeting with Usyk.

“I know what he’s going to do, I know what I’ve got to do,” Joshua told the BBC. “I’ve been in there before, I know his tricks. I’ve got to go change the narrative. I’m the author of my own movie.

‘I’m the author of my movie’: Anthony Joshua says he knows how to beat Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua plays down rumours he has dropped sparring partners ahead of Oleksandr Usyk rematch

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:50 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua played down rumours that he has been dropping sparring partners during his training camp for his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua takes on Usyk in Saudi Arabia this Saturday, as he looks to avenge a decision defeat by the unbeaten Ukrainian, who took the Briton’s heavyweight titles in London last September.

Joshua, 32, has been urged to take a more aggressive approach in his rematch with Usyk, 35, but “AJ” was coy when asked about rumours that he has been dropping training partners during his preparations for Saturday’s fight.

“Na, na, I don’t talk about that stuff,” Joshua told Sky Sports. “It’s not good, it’s not good to talk about that stuff.

Anthony Joshua plays down rumours he has been dropping sparring partners

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2 undercard press conference

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:45 , Jack Rathborn

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Anthony Joshua eyes early stoppage against Oleksandr Usyk in bid to reclaim world titles

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:42 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua has mischievously forecasted a first-round knockout of Oleksandr Usyk when he attempts to reclaim his position as unified heavyweight champion in Jeddah on Saturday.

Joshua has spent the last four weeks in Saudi Arabia finalising preparations for ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ and on Monday he began media duties in a chaotic function room at the Shangri-La hotel.

Looking to win back the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he lost to Usyk when they first clashed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium almost a year ago, the 2012 Olympic champion looked relaxed as he painted the picture of an early-stoppage win.

Joshua eyes early stoppage against Usyk in bid to reclaim world titles

Zhang relishing Hrgovic test to move into world heavyweight title contention

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:40 , Jack Rathborn

There’s another big heavyweight fight on the undercard this weekend, look out for Zhilei Zhang taking on Filip Hrgovic.

The winner could move into contention for a world title shot.

Zhang, a Chinese superstar, says six million watch his last fight against Scott Alexander.

He expects 100 million to tune into his fight this weekend.

Anthony Joshua’s ‘thinking’ will be his downfall against Oleksandr Usyk, says Ukrainian’s promoter

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:34 , Jack Rathborn

Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter has said Anthony Joshua’s tendency to ‘think’ too ‘thoroughly’ will be the Briton’s downfall in Saturday’s heavyweight title rematch.

Joshua and Usyk will clash in Saudi Arabia, as “AJ” tries to regain the belts that he lost to the unbeaten Ukrainian in London last September.

Usyk, 35, is the favourite in the rematch, having comprehensively outpointed Joshua, 32, last year. And Krassyuk feels that his fighter’s boxing ability will not be the only decisive factor in Jeddah.

Anthony Joshua’s ‘thinking’ will be his downfall against Oleksandr Usyk

Ben Whittaker ready to shine on Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:32 , Jack Rathborn

It’s the undercard press conference now and one of the more intriguing fighters to look out for early before the main event is Ben Whittaker.

It’s Petar Nosic for the 1-0 former Olympian, and while the Croatian opponent is 6-0, the interesting aspect is how Whittaker soaks up the atmosphere and gets his personality across.

Anthony Joshua enjoying being ‘underdog’ for Oleksandr Usyk rematch, Eddie Hearn claims

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:26 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua is thriving on his underdog status heading into Saturday’s heavyweight rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua is seeking to defy the odds by reclaiming the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he surrendered to the Ukrainian pound-for-pound contender at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year.

Although the conclusive points defeat was a shattering setback, Hearn believes Joshua has benefited from having a heavy burden lifted from his shoulders.

“The pressure’s off,” Hearn told the PA news agency. “I know he must win, but now he’s the underdog and people aren’t expecting him to win.

Anthony Joshua enjoying being the ‘underdog’ for Oleksandr Usyk rematch

Eddie Hearn on why Round 6 is crucial in Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:18 , Jack Rathborn

Eddie Hearn has explained why the sixth round may be crucial in Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua was outpointed by Usyk in London last September, losing the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles to the unbeaten Ukrainian.

On Saturday, Joshua will seek to regain the belts and avenge the loss in another 12-round clash, with his promoter Hearn echoing the feeling of many pundits that “AJ” must go for the knockout.

“I just feel like he’s gonna do everything right and let those hands go,” Hearn said at Tuesday’s open workouts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the rematch will take place.

Oleksandr Usyk shows off speed in workout ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:10 , Jack Rathborn

Oleksandr Usyk used his public workout for Saturday’s clash with Anthony Joshua to display his lightning-fast reactions through a trick involving four coins.

Standing in the centre of the ring at the Saudi Airlines Club, the Ukrainian unified heavyweight champion lined the coins up on his hand, wrist and arm before flicking them into the air and catching each one.

It was an impressive display of dexterity and was the centrepiece of a 10-minute session that also included some dance moves.

He wore a T-shirt showing the colours of the Ukrainian flag with the slogan ‘Colours of Freedom’, a reference to his nation’s war with Russia.

Oleksandr Usyk shows off speed in workout ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch

Anthony Joshua could retire with second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, says Carl Froch

Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:00 , Jack Rathborn

Carl Froch believes if Anthony Joshua has a “bad defeat” in his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk then the British boxer could hang up his gloves.

Joshua is due to fight Usyk on 20 August after losing to the Ukrainian last September. Froch does not know where the 32-year-old would go if he was to suffer another damaging loss.

“If Anthony Joshua loses his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk and it’s a bad defeat - a conclusive points loss or a heavy knockout - it could be the end for AJ,” Froch said.

Anthony Joshua could retire with second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, says Carl Froch

The Independent’s pound-for-pound boxing rankings

Wednesday 17 August 2022 12:50 , Jack Rathborn

The boxing landscape is arguably as intriguing as it has ever been.

The past few years have seen heavyweight epics for the ages between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, they have seen Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establish himself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans, and they have seen frequent displays of technical brilliance from champions in lighter weight classes.

There have been upsets, title unifications, and there has been no shortage of drama – Anthony Joshua’s defeats by Andy Ruiz Jr and Oleksandr Usyk standing out as prime examples.

All of these fights and results have factored into The Independent’s own top 10, pound-for-pound rankings for men’s boxers, to be updated monthly.

While there is no exact science to putting together lists such as this, a number of factors have been considered in making the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, level of activity and calibre of opposition.

The Independent’s pound-for-pound boxing rankings

Usyk vs Joshua 2: Main event and full undercard

Wednesday 17 August 2022 12:40 , Jack Rathborn

Full card

Oleksandr Usyk (C) vs Anthony Joshua (heavyweight)

Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang (heavyweight)

Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique (light-heavyweight)

Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova (women’s super-bantamweight)

Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera (cruiserweight)

Andrew Tabiti vs Tyrone Spong (heavyweight)

Daniel Lapinvs Jozef Jurko (light-heavyweight)

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre (super-lightweight)

Joshua vs Usyk prize money: What is fight purse for heavyweight title rematch?

Wednesday 17 August 2022 12:40 , Jack Rathborn

Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk will share the ring again this month, as the heavyweights go head to head with the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles on the line in Saudi Arabia.

The pair’s rematch comes 11 months after their initial clash, which saw Usyk comprehensively outpoint Joshua in the Briton’s own backyard, taking the belts from “AJ” at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

Now Joshua, 32, will seek to regain the titles for the second time in his career as he faces the unbeaten Ukrainian in Jeddah. In 2019, Joshua lost the belts to Andy Ruiz Jr at New York City’s Madison Square Garden with a stoppage defeat, before avenging that result with a decision win against the Mexican-American in Saudi Arabia at the end of that year.

Can Joshua replicate that feat by handing Usyk, 35, the first loss of the southpaw’s professional career?

Joshua vs Usyk 2 prize money: What is fight purse for pair’s rematch?