‘Nervous’ Anthony Joshua explains ‘manipulation’ plan ahead of Oleksandr Usyk showdown

Anthony Joshua previews his fight with Oleksandr Usyk

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British heavyweight Anthony Joshua says he wants to ‘manipulate’ his nerves to his advantage when he takes on Oleksandr Usyk tomorrow night. AJ is aware of the pressure building on his shoulders as he attempts to revenge the heavy defeat he suffered at the hands of Usyk last year.

If Joshua fails to regain the WBA Super, IBF and WBO belts he faces a long road back to the top and will be back of the queue for another shot at the heavyweight world titles. AJ, aged 32, will meet his destiny in the King Abdullah Sports City Arena and hopes his nerves will help him focus to take the biggest win of his career. 

Joshua said: “Definitely I get nervous. This one, yeah, because I want to win it, I want to perform. So it’s understanding that and then transitioning the nerves once the bell goes into focus. Nerves, they’re good if you understand them.  

“I like Cus D’Amato (American boxing trainer) who spoke a lot about nerves and using them. Now that I understand what nerves are, I can use them and manipulate them to my advantage. I think pressure is good and I do well under pressure.” 

Usyk stunned Joshua at the London Stadium last year out-boxing the home fighter to win by a unanimous judges’ decision. AJ was also beaten by Andy Ruiz Junior three years ago and many believe that a second defeat by Usyk this weekend would mark the end of his career. 

Former world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch is amongst those who doubt the British fighter and says a loss would mean ‘curtains’ for his career. Usyk fought for native Ukraine in their war against Russia delaying the re-match which AJ was contractually entitled too.


Joshua admits that his fight against Usyk will be the toughest of his career and he can feel the mounting pressure on him to become a three-time world champion. AJ added: “This is probably my toughest fight. There’s a lot of pressure on me and I want to win. Knowing how big that is, is a motivation. It’s a big fight, definitely, a big fight, but one I’m positive I can win.” 

Usyk was expected to weigh in heavier than when they met last September but stepping on the scales he weighed 221.6lb, similar to the 221.25lb he was for their first meeting. Joshua on the other hand was 4.5lb heavier than their first encounter weighing in at 244.5lb.

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