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Usyk ready to beat Joshua for a second time after rematch clause ‘activated in principle’

Usyk ready to beat Joshua for a second time after rematch clause 'activated in principle'

Oleksandr Usyk is ready to beat Anthony Joshua for a second time following confirmation that the dethroned heavyweight champion has “activated in principle” a rematch clause.

Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk outclassed Joshua at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles by unanimous points decision.

Joshua, who is now 24-2 after suffering a second defeat in four fights, said after his latest surprise loss he is “110 per cent” up for a rematch to win back his belts.

Speaking at a news conference in Kiev, Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk confirmed the wheels are in motion for the two men to meet again, likely in early 2022.

“The rematch was specified in the contract,” Krassyuk said. “It has already been activated in principle, from the side of Joshua.

“So I remember when we discussed with Oleksandr the issue of rematch, he was delighted and said, ‘Wow, cool, I will beat [Anthony] twice’.”

Usyk’s southpaw stance and smooth footwork troubled Joshua from the outset and the unbeaten Ukrainian left his opponent on the ropes and desperate for the bell in the final round.

However, Joseph Parker – the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight – has backed the Briton to come back stronger if the rematch goes ahead.

“Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds,” Parker told Stats Perform.

“But [Joshua’s] a smart man, and he’s got a smart team. He’s faced a loss and adversity, and he’s come back with a better game plan. That’s what he’s going to need to do. 

“I think I saw an interview saying he’s already watched the fight straight after it happened, and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

“Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

“It’s pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world, and then has three fights and he’s the unified champion of the world. 

“That’s the goal of a lot of heavyweights, to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It’s so crazy how things happen.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said he expects the rematch to take place in February or March next year, and it is “very likely to happen in the United Kingdom”, as he effectively ruled out staging the high-profile bout in Ukraine.

But two-weight world champion Usyk, who is now 19-0, reiterated his desire to face Joshua in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium in his homeland.

Usyk said: “How does Hearn know that in February at the Olympic Stadium it is bad to box? Has he ever fought in February at the Olympic Stadium?”

Boxing

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Boxing

Pacquiao announces boxing retirement: I just heard the final bell

Pacquiao announces boxing retirement: I just heard the final bell

Manny Pacquiao’s decorated boxing career has come to an end, the sport’s only eight-division world champion announcing his retirement.

Pacquiao called time on his career inside the ring a month after his unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas for the WBA super welterweight title.

The 42-year-old had made his boxing return against Ugas for the first time since July 2019, but the Filipino great’s comeback did not go according to plan in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao, who has declared his candidacy in the 2022 Philippine presidential election, retires with a record of 62 wins (39 knockouts), eight losses and two draws.

Regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Pacquiao – the first fighter to win major world titles in four of the eight glamour divisions; flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight – is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s.

“It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today, I am announcing my retirement,” Pacquiao said in a video on his Facebook page, having scored wins over the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto during his storied career.

“Wow… I never thought that this day would come. As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank the whole world especially the Filipino people, for supporting Manny Pacquiao.”

Pacquiao, who made his professional debut aged 16, said: “You gave me the chance to fight our way out of poverty. Because of you, I was able to inspire people all over the world. Because of you, I have been given the courage to change more lives. I will never forget what I have done and accomplished in my life, I can’t imagine.

“I just heard the final bell. Tapos na ang boksing [boxing is done]. Maraming, maraming salamat po [thank you very much]. God is good all the time.

“I was given the opportunity of representing the Philippines, bringing fame and honour to my country every time I entered the ring. I am grateful for all my accomplishments and the opportunity to inspire the fans.”

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Boxing

Joshua vs Fury still possible despite Usyk setback, claims Parker

Joshua vs Fury still possible despite Usyk setback, claims Parker

Anthony Joshua must learn from his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk if he is to come back stronger and keep alive the possibility of facing Tyson Fury, according to Joseph Parker.

Joshua lost his IBF, WBA and WBO titles to Usyk on Saturday after being outclassed by the Ukrainian on home soil at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 31-year-old had no answer to former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk and lost on a unanimous points decision.

It was just the second defeat of Joshua’s professional career, having previously been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019 before reclaiming the belts in their rematch.

The prospect of Joshua and Fury facing off now appears slim, with the latter’s promoter Frank Warren casting doubt on a bout that at one point looked certain to take place this year.

A rematch with 19-0 Usyk may now be on the cards for Joshua before he can contemplate facing Fury, who has a third clash with Deontay Wilder coming up on October 9.

But Parker, who was the first man to take Joshua the distance in their 2018 unification fight in Cardiff, believes there is still hope of an all-British heavyweight clash taking place.

“I feel like the point is just the best fighting the best,” Parker told Stats Perform. “Even though AJ lost that fight to Usyk, he’s still considered one of the best. 

“He’s going to go down in history as one of the best heavyweights. I think people want to see the best fight the best and that’s a fight that can still happen. 

“People will still be very interested to see who’s the best British heavyweight there is.”

Speaking after his surprise defeat in London at the weekend, Joshua said he is “110 per cent” up for a rematch with Usyk to win back his belts.

Despite the manner of the defeat, Parker has backed Joshua to put up a far stronger performance if he does step back into the ring with Usyk.

“I was a little surprised by the defeat,” Parker said. “I mean, a lot of other people called it a 50-50 fight, a lot of people said it was going to be a tear up for AJ to win. 

“But Usyk showed everyone watching tremendous skill and footwork and movement. You just saw him outbox and outsmart AJ for the 12 rounds.

“But [Joshua’s] a smart man and he’s got a smart team. He’s faced a loss and adversity and he’s come back with a better game plan. That’s what he’s going to need to do. 

“I think I saw an interview saying he’s already watched the fight straight after it happened and he just needs to make those adjustments and how to counter someone like Usyk.

“Who wins the rematch depends on the training, it depends on who shows up on the day. But going into the rematch, Usyk would have big confidence. 

“It’s pretty crazy how he came from the cruiserweight division, unified champion of the world and then has three fights and he’s the unified champion of the world. 

“That’s the goal of a lot of heavyweights, is to be champion of the world and be unified champ. It’s so crazy how things happen.”

Joshua followed up his victory over Parker, which saw him retain his WBA, IBF and IBO belts and win the WBO title, with a knockout triumph over Alexander Povetkin.

The Briton has lost two of his following four fights, however, giving him a record of 24-2 and leading to inevitable suggestions that his career is now declining.

But Parker said: “It’s hard to say if that’s the case. From when I fought him, he’s had a couple of wins, a loss to Ruiz and come back and beat him again.

“He’s saying that he’s improving and getting better, but maybe he just was faced with a fighter who was just different, you know, in his element. 

“When you see Usyk, with the footwork and the movement – he didn’t really allow AJ to land his shots and catch him. He was just in and out and just very smart.”

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