After receiving harsh criticism for his theatrics following his humiliating loss to Oleksandr Usyk in their world title clash in Saudi Arabia, British heavyweight Anthony Joshua has said, “I let myself down.”
In Jeddah, Joshua stormed out of the ring in a fit of rage, tossing two of Usyk’s belts to the ground. He later entered the ring again and made a long, profane diatribe.
After suffering his second straight loss to the undefeated Ukrainian on Sunday, the 32-year-career old’s seems to be at a crossroads, and he received criticism for his passionate post-fight reaction.
Joshua praised Usyk as “a class act” in a tweet and added: “To compete for the championship belts yesterday, I had to mentally put myself in a dark place!
“I got into two arguments, one with Usyk and one with my emotions, and both won.
“I’m the first to confess that I failed myself. I made a poor decision because I was acting out of unbridled passion and emotion.
“I absolutely adore this sport, and I’ll get better after this. Respect.”
Tony Bellew, a retired cruiserweight champion who was similarly beaten by Usyk, sprang to Joshua’s defence.
“Made a mistake like everyone else on planet earth has done, only difference is he makes his in front of millions on TV and then comes out (which is hard to do) and apologises to everyone!” the Briton tweeted.
The 6ft 6in (1.98m) Joshua scented victory when he had Usyk hanging on in the ninth round, only for the mobile southpaw to come firing back and control the final stages for a deserved split-decision win.
While Joshua was left trying to rebuild his career after his third defeat, Usyk retained the IBF, WBA and WBO titles and will now seek a unification showdown with WBC champion Tyson Fury.