Joshua promises ‘aggression’ will return for Usyk rematch

Almost a year ago at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Joshua attempted to outbox the boxer, putting in a largely passive performance as Usyk produced a masterclass to become unified heavyweight world champion by unanimous points decision.

As he did after losing in 2019 to Andy Ruiz, Joshua looks to win back his belts in Saudi Arabia and victory this weekend would make him a three-time world champion, getting his career right back on track.

The 32-year-old is now working with American coach Robert Garcia and much of the talk in the build-up to the second Usyk fight has been of a far more aggressive approach from the Brit. Joshua has made it clear that is the plan.

“I wanted to outbox my opponent, whether it was Usyk or anyone else, that was the mindset [in the first fight],” Joshua told Sky Sport.

“I wanted to outbox my opponent and on Saturday I want to smash my opponent. That’s just the mindset now.”

He added: “I was amateur for three and a half years and I done a lot in that time and I asked myself how? It wasn’t down to the skill element, because I was outclassed in terms of skill and experience by a lot of my competitors on the world scene, but that aggression.

“That will was something that couldn’t be denied. Then as you get more experience you try to develop as a rounded athlete. But ultimately, you can’t take your eye off the factor of what got you to where you are which is, as you said, that aggressiveness.”

The WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO belts are on the line in Jeddah, along with the Ring Magazine title after Tyson Fury vacated it.

Once again Fury has reiterated that he has retired from the sport, content to go out on a high after victory at Wembley over Dillian Whyte earlier this year.

Tyson Fury insists his victory over Dillian Whyte was his final fight

/ AP

Many believe Fury would be tempted to return to the ring to face Joshua in a massive undisputed showdown should his fellow Brit get the better of Usyk, with Joshua himself insisting he would not view himself as the best in the division even with victory this weekend.

“Unless he’s 100 per cent retired, you’ve got to beat Fury as well,” Joshua said.

“This isn’t about Fury, with all due respect. That’s just my view on that. As it stands you’re just a winner, you’re a winner at the end of the day. There’s always another challenge out there.

“Until you retire, you’re always going to be challenged to prove you’re the best in the world. The minute you say you’re the best, is the minute you should pack up. That’s enough on that Tyson Fury situation.”

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