Usyk tells Joshua to sack ‘freeloaders’ after post-fight meltdown

Emotional Anthony Joshua explains erratic behaviour after defeat

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Anthony Joshua has been urged to get rid of his ‘freeloaders’ by the man who condemned him to a second straight defeat in Saudi Arabia last month. Despite a much improved showing, Joshua lost out in a split decision against Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia, with the bout then marred by a bizarre post-fight meltdown from the British heavyweight.

‘AJ’ picked up the two world title belts before throwing them out of the ring, before heading to the changing rooms. He then promptly returned, grabbing the microphone and giving a rambling speech as he congratulated his Ukrainian opponent.

In his post-match press conference, an emotional Joshua apologised for his behaviour, whilst his entourage also received criticism for not stopping their man from charging back out. Promoter Eddie Hearn has since spoken of his first interaction with Joshua after his loss, revealing he the 32-year-old ranted “I didn’t f***ing box well, I lost.”

Now Usyk, 35, has claimed he understands why his rival lost the plot in the aftermath of a second straight defeat, having been outclassed by ‘The Cat’ in their initial title clash in London last September. But he’s also told Joshua he needs to cull some team members before he moves on.

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Having his say on Joshua’s post-fight meltdown, Usyk was blunt in his assessment: “I don’t hold a grudge against him. He was upset,” he said. “I’d be upset if I lost twice. Joshua has potential to grow, he needs to get some people away from him because he has a lot of freeloaders. Joshua is a handsome man, well done.”

The quote was tweeted by talkSPORT boxing editor Michael Benson, and boxing fans seemed to agree. @CloudAtlas_47 wrote “Good take. He does in fact need to change his team,” while @gordonmackay83 said: “Want to see more boxers with the mindset of Usyk, a great ambassador for the sport.”

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Hearn has strongly implied that Joshua’s next move will be the long-awaited rematch with Dillian Whyte, in the spring or summer of 2023 in a UK stadium. The pair first squared off in 2015 for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, a clash Joshua won.

Deontay Wilder has also called out ‘AJ’. That’s despite the American claiming that his fellow former champion had previously run away from a potential bout.

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