Confident AJ claims Usyk redemption will deliver 'credit he deserves'

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Anthony Joshua is confident he can secure legendary status by beating Oleksandr Usyk
Anthony Joshua is confident he can secure legendary status by beating Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua remains confident he will beat Oleksandr Usyk in the pair's rematch in August and feels a win will give him the "credit he deserves".

The two-time unified heavyweight champion lost his belts in a one-sided defeat to Usyk (19-0) at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September and neither of the duo has been in the ring since.

That loss ended any immediate hope of an all-British heavyweight unification bout between Joshua (24-2) and Tyson Fury, with the former also receiving a wealth of criticism for the manner of the loss.

Changes were therefore needed for the rematch, which will take place in Saudi Arabia on August 20, and Joshua parted ways with long-term coach Rob McCormack – now partnering with Robert Garcia.

However, Joshua suggests he has been treated unfairly since that defeat and believes a win against Usyk will secure him legendary status within boxing.

"I feel when I go and beat Usyk, I'll get the credit I deserve again. And I'll get the admiration for being a true boxing legend," he told ESPN.

"I fought for the heavyweight championship in my 16th fight; I felt like it's kind of overlooked. This is my 12th title fight in a row.

"I just feel like sometimes even though we're selling out arenas and it's good to be popular, I don't really care for that stuff. I'd just want the respect in the division."

Joshua identified that changes were necessary following the loss to Usyk, the second of his professional career after a defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 – who he then beat in a rematch to reclaim his belts.

That means Joshua has defeated every opponent he has faced for a heavyweight title in his career, with the exception of Usyk, and is confident he can correct the record in Jeddah.

"It makes me feel more comfortable knowing that I've been in a ring with a fighter before, but ultimately he might come completely different," he added.

"I definitely feel my training approach changes because I knew where I wasn't good enough, you know, areas where I was exposed.

"And look, I've got a third chance to become heavyweight champion of the world. I'm not just gonna go in there thinking it's gonna be easy. I will address the weaknesses and then I'll make sure I get it right and become champion again. I think it's a task that's definitely possible.

"Now, it's all about, 'oh, he's not good enough anyway,' so that's the motivation to prove I'm good enough. Cause when you are doing it and you're on top, it's hard to get the credit."

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