On Saturday night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Anthony Joshua suffered the second defeat of his career when he was outboxed over twelve rounds by Oleksandr Usyk, who walked away with the WBO, IBO, WBA, IBF heavyweight titles.
In June of 2019, Joshua was shockingly stopped in seven rounds by Andy Ruiz.
Six months later, he outboxed Ruiz over twelve rounds to reclaimed his belts. And last December he retained the belts with a knockout win over Kubrat Pulev.
Usyk started fast, landing accurate punches and wobbled Joshua in the third round.
Joshua would eventually make some adjustments to find moments of success as the contest entered the second half.
However, Usyk was on fire in the championship rounds. He found a second gear in the tenth, and began to land more often in the tenth and eleventh.
During the twelfth, he went for the kill and tried to close the show. Joshua found himself in serious trouble in the closing seconds - with the final bell potentially saving him from going down.
Joshua, who has the ability to exercise an immediate rematch clause, is now motivated to get back in the gym to improve.
“It was a good chess match,” Joshua said. “I’m just learning and studying this game, it was a great lesson.
“I’m not a sulker, this is a blessed opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. It’s a long process. I’m not going to go home and cry about it. Sulking is a waste of time It’s all about experiences, you have to trust the process.
“We always tend to look at things from a negative point of view, I am keeping a positive head on. I feel I had a good foothold in the fight and I am going to build on it. I just want to get back to the gym and improve.
“I’ve got to take it as a great lesson. If this was the end of the story, I’d be more emotional. But I believe in the process.”