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Anthony Joshua says Wladimir Klitschko was his biggest test… and aims to knock out Oleksandr Usyk 

Anthony Joshua named Wladimir Klitschko as the toughest opponent he has ever fought and revealed that his goal is to knock out a great Ukrainian again when he seeks revenge against Oleksandr Usyk.

Heavyweight superstar Joshua added Klitschko’s WBA (Super) and IBO belts to his IBF title when his spectacular eleventh-round knockout sent the boxing icon to defeat in his final fight.

Since that classic contest at Wembley Stadium in April 2017, when Klitschko dropped Joshua earlier in the fight, the Londoner has lost the belts twice, winning them back from Andy Ruiz in December 2019 before losing to Usyk in September. of 2021.

Anthony Joshua (right) and Wladimir Klitschko (center) traded knockdowns before an epic KO

Anthony Joshua (right) and Wladimir Klitschko (center) traded knockdowns before an epic KO

The British boxing favorite rates Klitschko, who has 53 knockouts, as his toughest test.

The British boxing favorite rates Klitschko, who has 53 knockouts, as his toughest test.

Klitschko was the most celebrated boxer Joshua has ever beaten, though he seemed in much bigger trouble as he failed to solve the conundrum posed by the undefeated Usyk in their cautious showdown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“The toughest opponent I’ve ever faced would be Wladimir Klitschko, definitely,” Joshua told an enraptured Oxford Union audience.

The passing of the guard. The young lion against the old lion. At the time I fought him, I thought it was definitely too soon, but it was his last fight.

‘So if I didn’t fight him then, it would have been too late. It was risk versus reward and I thought boxing needed it.

Oleksandr Usyk was too complicated for Joshua when he won their fight on points in September 2021

Oleksandr Usyk was too complicated for Joshua when he won their fight on points in September 2021

‘Sometimes, due to lack of experience, we make it harder than it sometimes needs to be.

He definitely had more knockouts on his record than I have fights and knockouts combined. He is experienced and very strong and it was a tough fight.

‘Before that stage, I was knocking guys out in six rounds and seven rounds. Wladimir took me 11 rounds, a place he had never been before. He was my toughest, for sure.

In the five years since he stunned Klitschko in front of 90,000 fans, the 32-year-old Joshua has suffered the first two losses of his career, and he admits he had never used a strict set of tactics before his current camp for the Usyk rematch. . , which appears to take place on July 23 in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua fought to upset Usyk and took plenty of punishment as the former cruiserweight shone

Joshua fought to upset Usyk and took plenty of punishment as the former cruiserweight shone

Joshua said, “If I’m being honest with you, this is the first time in my career that I’d say we’re specifically working on a game plan.”

‘Everything will make sense after July 23. I have based a lot of my success on sheer skill, with the right coaches, experienced coaches.

But they probably knew he had skill. It’s just about neutralizing that ability. What tends to happen is that we overthink things when there’s no game plan, because things don’t always go our way when they’re based on pure skill.

‘Raw skill wasn’t enough, so now I’m going to try this new game plan, train and see how it goes.

Joshua regained his titles from Andy Ruiz in 2019 in Saudi Arabia, where he is set to fight Usyk.

Joshua regained his titles from Andy Ruiz in 2019 in Saudi Arabia, where he is set to fight Usyk.

‘I think you have to have an a, b and c. I’m only as good as my team. I am quite stubborn; If you tell me to go out there and knock this guy out, I’ll think I’ll be able to do it.

“The fight with Usyk, in my mind, was to go 12 rounds, that was my game plan because I felt like I could compete with him as a boxer.”

Usyk looked like the man most likely to score a knockout on his way to a complete points victory against Joshua.

‘AJ’ reflected: ‘He won two rounds more than me. The plan now is to go for the knockout.

The 32-year-old claims he is working out a game plan for the first time in a bid to knock Usyk out.

The 32-year-old claims he is working out a game plan for the first time in a bid to knock Usyk out.

‘My style is to get up close and personal and make it personal to the opponent, so that’s the game plan.

‘Usyk is rated as a pound-for-pound opponent. I still don’t know what that means. What I know is that people like to win and knockouts.

“I have never liked winning or pound for pound, I have never been interested in rankings.

He is one of the best in all divisions. What Usyk means to me personally is someone I fought true to my values, and that means fighting the best of this generation.

‘You have boxers that you knock out and they make you look good, which is like a treat for the eyes in boxing.

‘Usyk is a top-tier opponent, Olympic gold medalist, former undisputed cruiserweight champion and now heavyweight champion.

‘He should go down in boxing history and I will face him in three months. God willing, with accolades and hard work, I will be victorious and become a three-time world heavyweight champion.

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