Anthony Joshua “outsmarted” himself in the first fight, but he could walk away from the sport entirely if he loses to Oleksandr Usyk again, says Johnny Nelson; watch the Usyk vs Joshua rematch live and exclusively on Sky Sports Box Office on August 20
Anthony Joshua had to go back and lick his wounds, emotionally as well as physically, after the first Oleksandr Usyk fight.
The things that were said about him, how good he is, was or isn’t… He’s had to deal with all of that stuff here and deal with a loss itself.
Now he’s had to reset and rethink about how he’s going to deal with this fight – Joshua rematches Usyk live and exclusively on Sky Sports Box Office this Saturday.
Matthew Macklin believes Joshua’s career is on the line when he faces Usyk and he could retire if he loses
We’ll be looking at a completely different animal now because he knows what Usyk is capable of doing and he knows what mistakes he made.
But if Usyk beats him, I reckon he’ll walk away.
He’s not a backing dancer; it’s not in his DNA to want to be hanging on knowing that there’s a guy in that division that can beat you. It’s a fighter’s mentality.
He doesn’t want to hang about to be a backing dancer; he wants to be the best guy.
So, therefore with this fight here with Anthony Joshua, it’s so important for his career. He knows that this might be the last big fight he’s in. It’s not in his DNA to stand back and be a gatekeeper for anybody.
In the first fight Anthony Joshua went out there and thought he could outbox the boxer and he got it so wrong.
My old trainer Brendan Ingle used to call it ‘three smart’. Now I can be too smart for you but with three smart, you end up outsmarting yourself.
You look at the success he had, look at Usyk’s face after the fight he was in a right state, but in the fight itself Usyk outboxed him, out-moved him, out-manoeuvred him and out-jabbed him.
Anthony Joshua tried to do that to Usyk to prove something to everybody who doubted him as a good fighter and boxer.
He made a gamble, and lost.
He’s thought what was I doing? Why did I get dragged into that?
So, there’s a lot more to motivate and push him, to think he can do it and he will do it. He’s isolated himself from everybody.
Now he’s listening to the people around him to say this is what we’re doing, and this is the kind of fight we’re having.
He’s saying that this fight is not going the distance, the only person I’ve got something to prove to is me and my team. Now, that’s the right mindset.
If Anthony Joshua got it so wrong the first time, lost on points and looking at the state of Usyk afterwards, imagine if he got it so right this time?
Imagine if he went in there and decided to box how he fights and go in with that mentality that he had when he boxed Dillian Whyte: ‘I’m going to go rough and rugged. I’m going to go in there with the mentality that my career is on the line here because if I don’t win, I’ve basically got to seriously think if I want to hang about in this division knowing I’m not the best?’.