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Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will box ’20 times’ better in rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in 2022

Image: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will box '20 times' better in rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in 2022

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will be fighting Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) in a rematch in February or March in 2022 to avenge his loss last Saturday night in London, England.

Hearn says Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) “underperformed’ and had the wrong game plan for the fight with Usyk.

He maintains that Joshua doesn’t need to change his fighting style, and all he needs is to return to the regular fighting style that he had when he was beating fighters like Wladimir Klitschko.

Indeed, Hearn says the Joshua that defeated Klitschko in 2017 would have beaten Usyk last Saturday night.

It’s easy to play Monday morning quarterback to second-guess how things would have been in a parallel universe.

All we know is Joshua wasn’t good enough last Saturday, and he’s no longer the IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight title.

Usyk dominated Joshua from start to the bitter finish, defeating him by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 117-112, 116-112, and 115-113.

Of those three scores, 117-112 made the most sense. Joshua looked clueless and lost inside the ring with Usyk, and he was fortunate not to get knocked out.

Joshua can box 20 times better than that

“He believed he could outbox him, break him down, and he didn’t do it,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV on Joshua’s defeat to Usyk. “It’s frustrating because he can box 20 times better than that, and he will. Now the operation is revenge. That’s all that matters; that’s all he’s thinking about.

Image: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua will box '20 times' better in rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in 2022

“He’s devastated in defeat,” Hearn said of Joshua. “Now, all he’s thinking about for the next six months is getting his belts back and beating Oleksandr Usyk. Today that begins.

“That operation is underway. He’ll be written off [by fans]. Give him the respect for taking on Usyk. He might be pound-for-pound #1, Usyk.

“He’s certainly pound-for-pound #2. He’s got to use that to drive him, and he wants it more than ever,” said Hearn.

It sounds like Hearn is dreaming about a different reality than the one that we just saw take place last Saturday. I mean, if Joshua could fight “20 times” better, he would have done so last night against Usyk and won the fight.

Unfortunately, Joshua CAN’T fight 20 times better, and he’s going to be humiliated if he sticks with Hearn’s idea of facing Usyk in an immediate rematch.

The ONLY one of those two that has a chance of improvement for the rematch is Usyk, and that’s because he and his trainer Anatoliy Lomachenko have seen how Joshua fights, and they know his tendencies now.

It’s going to be WORSE for Joshua in the rematch, and Hearn will be in the position of trying to explain the crazy decision for why AJ chose to take the rematch.

If Charles Brun were Joshua’s promoter, he wouldn’t do it, no way. Usyk is too good, and Joshua is too limited, slow, and lacking technical ability.

Joshua should go after the money by fighting the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder III fight. AJ has got an excellent chance of beating either of those guys and making a mountain of money in the process.

Joshua doesn’t need a rematch with Usyk right now. He can always wait to face him in three or four years when Usyk is 36 or 37 and has slowed down enough to be beaten.

Hearn: AJ must put it right

“He’s got to put it right in the rematch. He [Joshua] doesn’t have to change his style,” said Hearn. “He’s got to fight with his style. He tried to outbox probably the best technical boxer in the world.

“It’s not a good idea, but that’s what he did, and it’s over. So he’s got to do the things he used to do and always does, and he’s got to do the things now he knows.

“He’s a quick learner,” Hearn said of Joshua. “Against Andy Ruiz in the second fight, he put together the perfect game plan to beat Ruiz and execute it to the tee. He’s got to do that again.

“This game plan isn’t to box and move. This game plan is to go in there and hurt Usyk early and stick it on him. There’s no point giving the game plan away.

“Everyone knows. Everyone said on Saturday, ‘In the rematch, he needs to do this.’ There’s an educated way to do it, but he has the ability to do it in an educated way. Not just go in there and load up.

“He was absolutely brilliant, Oleksandr Usyk. There was so much more for AJ in that fight. I told him today, ‘You probably couldn’t have boxed worse or a worse strategy, and you lost 8-4 or 7-5.’

“It’s really hard to win these fights, especially against someone as good as Usyk. So now I’m expected because that rematch is going to happen in early next year,” Hearn said.

Hearn sounds obsessed with him wanting Joshua to avenge his loss to Usyk. If this were war and you were outmaneuvered by the enemy, a good general would retreat rather than leave his troops in the field to get chopped apart.

It’s plain lunacy for Joshua to face Usyk again because he will lose and likely worse than last time. Joshua was lucky that Usyk didn’t knock him out in the championship rounds because he could have if the talented Ukrainian had pushed for the stoppage.

Joshua should retreat and go after the winner of the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight. If Joshua beats the Fury-Wilder 3 winner, his confidence will be where it was before his loss to Usyk.

Then it would be a good time for Joshua to reevaluate and return to the battlefield to face Usyk.

Joshua will be looking to take Usyk’s head off

“It just comes down to a poor game plan and a poor execution of a game plan,” Hearn said of Joshua. “There will be big changes going into the next fight, big changes.

“The AJ that beat Wladimir Klitschko, fighting like that, would have beaten Oleksandr Usyk, and that’s what he’s got to get right in number two.

“Usyk negates things that you do. So maybe he [Joshua] wanted to be a little more aggressive, but he couldn’t at that specific time. I don’t want to same bad game plan bad performance. You got to give credit to Usyk. He was brilliant.

“It’s not just a case of, ‘In the rematch at the first bell, just steam into him, mate, and just let your hands go.’ He [Joshua] will be looking to take Usyk’s head off in the next fight because he knows he can’t do it the other way.

“It’s not that he doesn’t have the ability. It’s just Usyk. Watch the fight back. Usyk was hurt a couple of times in that fight, and AJ never really let his hands go with any power. Still, he [Usyk] was hurt to the body and stunned to the head without real shots coming in.

“Now that Usyk will celebrate as champion, much deserved. What a fighter. He will go away and do his world tour like Andy Ruiz done, and Joshua will just stay in the gym and improve and every day think about Oleksandr Usyk,” said Hearn.

There’s no question that Joshua will be attempting to take Usyk’s head off in the rematch because he’ll be fighting for his career.

When a fighter is facing career oblivion, as Joshua will be next February or March against Usyk, he’s got no choice but to throw as hard as possible and hope that he can land a lucky punch.

When you fight like that against a talented technical fighter like Usyk, you get taken apart.

I hate to say it, but Joshua would probably be better off using that ugly Klitschko style that he’s been fumbling with in his last three fights. At least if Joshua runs around the ring, clinching, jabbing, and keeping the action at range, he can avoid what we saw happen in the 12th round last Saturday.

Usyk wasn’t the better man, says Hearn

“That’s all you can do and look to win the rematch,” said Hearn. “I think Joshua will look at it and say, ‘where do I need to improve? What do I need to change to best Usyk.

“I think there are things he knows he has to change and thinks he has to change. He’ll make those changes because you have to be brutal, and you have to be honest with yourself and say, ‘Maybe I wasn’t doing this right, or maybe this wasn’t right.’

“Sometimes you lose, and you’re beaten by the better man, but when you underperform like he [Joshua] did, there’s a reason for that. He has to find those reasons and make sure they don’t happen again.

“Firstly, that wouldn’t be my decision. Secondly, absolutely no chance,” said Hearn when asked if he contemplated not taking the rematch with Usyk.

“You can’t win, can you? If he [Joshua] don’t take the rematch, he’s a coward. If he does take the rematch, it’s ‘Maybe he’s stupid.’

“You get criticized either way. He looked at the fight and goes, ‘I can’t believe I boxed that badly and in that way.

“I can do ten times better, 20 times better than that.’ He’s not waking up this morning going, ‘Usyk was unbeatable, I can’t believe it. He really hurt me; I couldn’t lay a glove on him.’

“He was just going, ‘I know I can beat him. I know I can beat him,’ but he’s got to do things differently,” Hearn said of Joshua.

Interestingly, Hearn isn’t giving Usyk full credit for his win. By saying that Joshua “underperformed” and “didn’t get it right,” Hearn lets the boxing fans know that Joshua is STILL the better fighter than Usyk, even though he lost to him.

It’s disappointing when a promoter and a fighter don’t want to acknowledge that a better fighter beat them, but Joshua and Hearn don’t want to face the truth.

It would be too hard for them to look at the ugly reality of what happened last Saturday. So to try to make sense of what took place, Joshua & Hearn are saying that they had the wrong game plan and that AJ “underperformed.”

This is a classic example of people putting their heads in the sand, hiding from the truth.

Joshua to fight Usyk in February or March

“You wait a lifetime for a shot at a heavyweight world title,” Hearn said. “He [Joshua] would be frozen out. He’s got a shot at the world heavyweight title in the palm of his hand.

“Forget about the achievements of the past. He has a chance in February or March of next year to become the unified heavyweight world champion.

“Forget that he lost yesterday. That’s the new opportunity that has presented itself, and that is a blessing. So we take that opportunity with both hands. He’s got a chance, and he’ll be looking to take it with both hands.

“I said to him [beforehand], ‘Don’t overthink this fight.’ He overthought the fight. He became too technical for him in his head in how he was approaching this fight, in my opinion.

“We had conversations,” said Hearn about him giving Joshua advice before the Usyk fight not to try and box him.

“He almost needed the old AJ in there, the one that wasn’t as accomplished as a fighter. There are going to be people, ‘You aren’t  going to win the rematch.’ Beautiful.

“Let him be a massive underdog in the rematch. Write him off completely because when he pulls it off, it’ll be one of the greatest comeback victories of all time.

“This is the first time in his carer that he’s an underdog going into a fight,” said Hearn.

There’s no chance that Joshua would be “frozen out” from a world heavyweight title shot if he elected not to use his rematch clause to fight Usyk again.

Joshua is too famous for the other heavyweights to freeze him out, and they wouldn’t avoid him for fear of getting beaten. The fact of the matter is, fighting Joshua is like being given a golden parachute for a fighter.

Any heavyweight that faces Joshua will be set for life with the millions they get from facing him, and it doesn’t have a world title, and they’ll still get millions fighting him.

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