Anthony Joshua: “I Don’t Always Want to Be the Best in the Gym”

Published 09/21/2021, 4:48 PM EDT
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – DECEMBER 03: Anthony Joshua looks on ahead of the IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO World Heavyweight Title Fight between Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua during the Clash On The Dunes Public Work Out at Public at the Investment Fund office complex on December 03, 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)


Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk are now all set to cross paths. The two will settle scores at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25. A clash between the two-time heavyweight champion and the undisputed cruiserweight champion will definitely be one for the books.

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In an interview ahead of this fight, Anthony Joshua shared insight into his training and preparation for the incredibly skilled Ukrainian champion.

He said that for this camp, he has been training with southpaws. Joshua also highlighted that he does not always aim to be the best athlete inside the gym.

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It’s great right. I said it the other day, I’ve dedicated myself to my fans, I’ve dedicated myself to the boxing public and to the wider public that kind of like fighting, so I’ve given myself to the sport.

For me, in the gym, we practice deep practice, so I’ve put myself on the edge, where I’m vulnerable, so I can improve.

“I don’t always want to be the best in the gym but when it comes to fight night, in front of 60-70,000 people and it’s like every time I’ve sparred, I’ve sparred like I’m performing and I’ve had tough spars and I’m doubting myself because, in practice, I’ve always sparred as if it’s a performance.

With this whole training camp with the southpaws, I’ve practiced and practiced and practiced and I’m very confident and comfortable with my development during this training camp.

“So when I go there, September 25th, on September 26, I’m sure I’ll be quite happy with my performance,” said Anthony Joshua.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – Fight Preview

While the odds are stacked against the Ukrainian undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk is, by no means, a weak opponent. As an amateur, he fought 105 times, won 88, and lost 16 of those.

His last amateur fight was against Clemente Russo at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, where he showed world-class movement, footwork, and smart striking.

As a professional boxer, he has fought 18 times, has won all of them, and remains undefeated. The undisputed cruiserweight did not shy away from taking on the toughest challenges against the likes of Murat Gassiev, and Tony Bellew.

He made his heavyweight debut in 2019 against Chazz Witherspoon and won by RTD. He would then go on to challenge Derek Chisora in 2020 and won by unanimous decision.

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Many believed that his debut in Anthony Joshua’s division did not look very impressive. He still showed great movement and speed that is uncommon amongst fighters in that weight class. That is what makes him competent, dangerous, and challenging inside the ring.

He was able to outbox Chisora, who usually relies on his knockout strength to dominate his opponents. However, Usyk might find it difficult to apply his ‘stick and move’ approach against Anthony Joshua. The agility in his movement and footwork might prove to be a challenge for Usyk.

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How do you see this fight playing out?

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Sanjit Misra

349 articles

Sanjit Misra is a boxing author at EssentiallySports. Sanjit fused this passion for writing with his love for jabs, hooks, weaves, and uppercuts and entered the realm of boxing journalism. The elegance, the science, the techniques, and the finesse of hand-to-hand combat was what initially drew him into the world of boxing.

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