Eddie Hearn explains why Anthony Joshua kicked off after Oleksandr Usyk defeat

In pictures: Usyk v Joshua II

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Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has explained why the Brit reacted angrily and stormed out of the ring after his second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk. Joshua made a scene and had to be temporarily restrained before grabbing the microphone and delivering an x-rated speech in the ring. 

At the first bell, Joshua appeared a more determined prospect than in the first fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 11 months ago. He stayed sharp and kept pace with Usyk, but eventually the gulf in class began to show. 

Commentators and former fighters sat ringside almost unanimously had Usyk in a convincing lead by the time the final bell rang, but the Ukrainian was only awarded a split-decision win by the trio of judges. 

Despite the relatively convincing nature of his defeat, Joshua booted off after hearing the confirmation of his third career defeat and temporarily stormed out of the ring. He then came storming back before delivering a curious post-fight speech that even seemed to leave Usyk perplexed. 

“The reaction from AJ – he’s a human, so much pressure, he exploded, he was devastated,” explained Hearn. “He’s a competitor and a man. He’s pound for pound No 1. They asked me [about the score], I thought it was close. I thought 115-113. I had it very close. Maybe AJ one round up after the ninth. A great performance from Anthony Joshua.

“They’re both tremendous fighters. [Tyson] Fury is a clever man, he could’ve fought Usyk, he chose not to. AJ was desperate to win the fight. He lost a split decision to the pound-for-pound No1. He needs to go back, rebuild, get the frustration out, but also be happy.”

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