Anthony Joshua is ready to rule the heavyweight division once again.

The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-time unified heavyweight titlist enters the second rematch of his career, in hopes of avenging his second career defeat. The occasion comes in his August 20 rematch with Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs), who defends his WBA/IBF/WBO/IBO titles in a bout that will headline a show from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

“God is good, even through the tough times. The hunger is still there,” Joshua noted to the assembled press on site for the kickoff press conference Tuesday in Jeddah. “Through the tough times, we stay hungry. We just keep the motivation high.

“We’re still on the road to undisputed, for sure. This is just a little blip in the road. We’re focused on the target, which is sitting over there. I’m focused on the goal. God willing, I’ll perform and I will become three-time heavyweight champion of the world.”

England’s Joshua (24-2, 22KOs) suffered his second career defeat in a twelve-round, unanimous decision to Usyk last September 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London. Plans for a rematch were delayed due to Usyk having to briefly commit to serving as part of a Ukraine military defense team against the ongoing Russian invasion.   

From there came the hard decision of where to stage the event before settling on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fittingly, the nation hosted Joshua’s previous revenge-fueled win, when he outpointed Andy Ruiz over twelve-rounds in their December 2019 rematch in Diriyah, regaining his unified titles six months after suffering a seventh-round knockout to the Mexican heavyweight at Madison Square Garden in New York City.   

Joshua believed to have learned from his mistakes endured in the first fight with Ruiz, comfortably boxing his way to decision in the rematch. One successful defense followed, a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev in December 2020 before being thoroughly outclassed by the well credentialed Usyk, also a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up to heavyweight in 2019.

The loss to Usyk humbled Joshua to where he knew that personnel changes were necessary. The fighting pride of Watford, England brought in the services of renowned trainer Robert Garcia, who has taken the lead for this camp.

“With Andy Ruiz, a lot of people could see before the fight that things were not 100%,” noted Joshua in describing his previous experience in overcoming a career setback. “You’ve got to be strong, have thick skin and take our loss like a man. When I win, I keep it moving, I thank everybody. When you lose, you have to stay humble in defeat. I kept it moving and knew I could come back again. 

"The fight with Usyk, he busted my ass for some rounds. I have to take that defeat like a man as well. I hold myself accountable, admit when I’m wrong and hold my head high when I’m right. The fight in September, I was wrong and he was right. Simply, I have to reverse that role on August 20. I don’t like to overcomplicate things. Sometimes, there’s simplicity in genius. I just have to keep things simple and keep moving forward.”

Joshua won his first title in April 2016, making six successful defenses of at least one belt before losing to Ruiz. The 6'6" Brit is 9-2 (7KOs) overall in title fights.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox