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Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk, Joshua vs Usyk 2, news, preview, how to watch, start time Australia

Heavyweight superstar Anthony Joshua knows he has to ‘win’ this weekend’s top world title fight against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua, 32, is bidding to regain the WBO, WBA and IBF world titles he lost to Ukraine’s Usyk, who defeated the Briton by unanimous decision in London last September.

“That’s enough. He has to win,” Joshua added. “I like the pressure. It was tough.” [Now] Just finish the job. Instinct, focus, do the work, God willing, winners.

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‘He has to win… I like the pressure’ | 00:48

He may be one of the sport’s most iconic figures, but Joshua’s reputation took a major hit in 2019 when he was stunned by Andy Ruiz Jr. in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. He regained his heavyweight belts in Saudi Arabia that same year – but his marketability and legacy suffered another blow when he lost to 35-year-old Usyk last September.

There has even been speculation that a third defeat could force Joshua into retirement, with the British superstar claiming closure this week.

Some experts said a third professional defeat could spell the end of the former Olympic heavyweight gold medalist’s career – a claim dismissed by Joshua as ‘crazy’ and ‘absurd’.

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“I’m fighting a pound-for-pound fighter,” he told AFP earlier this week.

“I didn’t lose to some. To suggest that I should retire is crazy.

“If I lose to one of the top fighters in the world today (people will say) ‘Oh, he should retire, he lost to one of the best.’ What kind of nonsense is that?

“It’s cool if people really want me to go. I have not begged anyone,” Joshua said.

But Joshua’s standing among the all-time greats will no doubt be irreparably damaged if Usyk defends his heavyweight belts in Saudi Arabia – the same venue where Joshua got his revenge on Ruiz.

Usyk’s Amazing Journey From Fight To Ring | 01:49

A victory raises the prospect of one of the most sought-after fights in recent heavyweight history: Joshua against the undefeated heavyweight great and British Tyson Fury.

It is arguably one of the most anticipated fights in modern British boxing history, but WBC champion Joshua has reiterated that he will retire this week.

Only a convincing Joshua victory seems likely to convince Fury to return from his retirement fun – and only a convincing victory, as fans have been waiting for him and denied him – will rebuild public interest for years to come.

For now, Joshua is in the awkward position of being the underdog, the challenger, the first to go to the ring.

Usyk played a lot of mind games when the duo delayed the start of the event and forced Joshua to wait during their official press conference at Jeddah’s Shangri-La Hotel. As other fighters spoke at the press conference, Usyk took notes and made sure to catch the last word.

As the pair faced off, Usyk was all smiles despite the older Joshua hovering over him – and as Joshua left the stage, the Ukrainian started signing.

Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk is singing at a press conference.
Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk is singing at a press conference.Source: AFP

Dressed in a traditional Cossack uniform, Usyk led the group in the song “Oi u luzi chervona kalyna,” a song commemorating the 1875 war for independence. It is a sign of the country’s strong will to survive the current Russian invasion.

The champion boxer returns to his homeland and joins the fight against Russia, carrying the hope of the country with Joshua on his shoulders.

“We are born alive to compete, for a belt, for anything. There is no incomparable. Our whole life is a competition – for anything, for someone – that’s why we compete.

“I am inspired by the people of Ukraine who are fighting so hard to protect our freedom, to protect our freedom and to protect our culture that other people want to destroy, they don’t want us to live anymore,” Usyk added.

“I’m in touch with a lot of guys from the front line, the military and the military. I receive voice and video messages with words of support and news that they are praying for them and my victory. They are holding their hands and praying for my victory and that motivates me.”

Usic’s manager also revealed the incredible amount of time it took to prepare for the return match.

“I have never seen anyone ride a bike for 100 kilometers in 45 degree heat. I’ve never seen anyone swim 10 kilometers in a pool for five hours the day before the press conference in London. “I’ve never seen anyone hold their breath underwater for four minutes and 40 seconds.” said Aegis Klimas. “And then, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ I asked him.

“I know I have a coach behind me, he won’t let me sink,” he said. He is going to take me out!’

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