Eddie Hearn has detailed the explosive first interaction he had with Anthony Joshua following the heavyweight division’s bitterly disappointing loss to Oleksandr Usyk earlier this month.
Joshua, who lost his WBO, WBA and IBF titles in a lopsided unanimous decision loss to the Ukrainian wizard last year, put on a much-improved performance but fell again tonight, this time by split decision.
Typically calm, controlled and humble – as is his mantra – Joshua immediately showed a different side of himself, tossing his former belts out of the ring before making his way to the mic and delivering a rather erratic monologue after initially rushed out of the square circle.
Eddie Hearn (left) has revealed his first talks with Anthony Joshua following his loss to Oleksandr Usyk (right).
Joshua, 32, had to inflict a second bitterly disappointing defeat on the Ukrainian mastermind
Joshua soon found his resolve and finally gave the Ukrainian the recognition he deserved. But after Hearn exploded again backstage after a viewer told him to “keep it professional,” he reveals members of his team then got the cold shoulder too.
“He didn’t want a conversation, it was that kind of vibe,” Hearn told Sportsmail of his first interaction with Joshua. “We went back to the dressing room and he was extremely frustrated.
“I actually went over to talk to him and to everyone he said, ‘Leave me alone.’ I said, “No, I won’t leave you alone. I have to tell you, you boxed well.”
“He said, ‘No, I didn’t box a damn well, I lost.’ I said, ‘No, you boxed well. You didn’t box well in the first fight and I told you that. But after nine rounds I was convinced that you would win this fight.”
“Usyk was incredible in the 10th, 11th and 12th rounds and the better man won but Joshua took him all the way.”
Hearn insists Joshua boxed brilliantly but admits Usyk retired late and deserved to win
Joshua disagrees, insisting his performance wasn’t good enough as he suffered a third career loss
The former champion launched into an erratic and uncharacteristic monologue after the fight
A calmer Joshua appeared when the former champion reappeared for the usual post-fight press conference, but showed his emotion when he shed a tear after being asked if he was proud of himself.
But if it were up to Hearn – which he’s now glad he didn’t – Joshua wouldn’t have faced the media at all, such was the 32-year-old’s plight.
“It was two hours before we got into the press conference,” Hearn recalled. “One of the difficult things for fighters is going to the press conferences and speaking after a fight.
“Imagine you’re having a fight on the street with all the emotion and adrenaline that entails, and then all of a sudden you need to talk coherently to someone and speak your mind while the whole world stands ready to have their say comment on what you say.
“I didn’t want him to do a press conference and I didn’t want him to do one after losing Andy Ruiz because he had a concussion, but he always insists on doing it.
“So those two hours were good for him to calm down and clear his mind a bit. It was utterly frustrating doing all the right things, trying as hard as he could and still not being good enough to win. That was hard for him to accept.
The first loss was just, “I boxed shit, I got it wrong, I screwed it up”. It was more like, “I was working on the right things, we had the right plan, I kept trying and I still couldn’t win.”
“For him, the idea of not being good enough if you do it right was hard for a winner to accept.”
Joshua cried during his post-fight press conference as the Brit was overcome with emotion
Hearn thinks it was a good thing to release his pent-up emotions after years of bottling them up
Joshua was, predictably, criticized for his post-fight outburst, but so were members of his team, who many felt should have restrained, or at least tried to restrain, the Brit during his in-ring tirades.
Hearn insists there was nothing he or anyone in the AJ camp could do at the time, but believing that some relief from all the pressure Joshua has been on since becoming world champion for the first time in 2016 has actually served him well Has.
“I still find it hilarious when I hear people say that his team should have stepped in during his interview,” he said. “At that point you have to let him do his thing. If you jump in, he’ll likely grab you by the chin, making the whole thing even more awkward. At this point you have to let him speak his mind.
“The press conference was really good for him because you saw a slightly calm guy who just showed a lot of emotion. He’s fine now. And I think actually expressing that emotion was a good thing because I feel like it’s simmering inside him.
What next was the immediate question, and Hearn has the answer to that. The Matchroom boss plans to pull out Joshua again in December, confirming to Sportsmail that the fight will be held in the UK as well as against a top 15 opponent.
Hearn has confirmed a rematch against longtime rival Dillian Whyte could take place next year
Hearn also confirmed Joshua will have two tune-up fights, with the latter potentially being a delicious rematch against Dillian Whyte at a UK stadium next year before challenging again for the belts.
With no strings to overcome or fees to pay, Hearn also wants to get AJ traveling and potentially fighting in Beijing, Australia, America and the Middle East within the next year.
He said: “Now Joshua is in control of his own future. We can fight who we want, when we want, where we want. Let’s go on an AJ world tour.”
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/boxing/article-11167789/Eddie-Hearn-outlines-fiery-conversation-Anthony-Joshua-Usyk-loss.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Eddie Hearn outlines fiery first conversation with Anthony Joshua after Usyk defeat