Joshua vs Usyk 2 press conference LIVE: Latest updates in Jeddah

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Anthony Joshua focusing on cementing his legacy

Anthony Joshua faces Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday in Jeddah looking to win back the world heavyweight titles he lost at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September. AJ will hope to repeat his trick after achieving redemption against Andy Ruiz in a rematch in Saudi Arabia, with the possibility for the winner to become undisputed champion in the next fight, although Tyson Fury’s most recent retirement clouds the future of the division.

There has been discussion surrounding Joshua’s future if he suffers a second defeat in a row against the mesmerising and outrageously skilful Usyk, with Johnny Nelson and Carl Froch casting doubt on a return if it is to be a repeat on Saturday. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn is eyeing up round six as pivotal to the fight, but also maintains the 32-year-old would need to be patient for another shot at the title if he loses again: “He loves what he does, AJ loves to fight. He loves boxing. It will be difficult to get a shot at the world heavyweight title. But why would you even consider retiring from the sport if you lose to the pound-for-pound number one? Unless you just didn’t want to do it anymore.”

The rivals meet face to face at the final press conference in Jeddah this afternoon, where the final trash talk will be said ahead of Friday’s weigh-in, which serves merely as theatre in the heavyweight division of course. Joshua can expect a heavier Usyk though, with the Ukrainian growing into the division after recently jumping up from cruiserweight. Follow live updates, quotes and analysis from today’s press conference below:

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Anthony Joshua eyes early stoppage against Oleksandr Usyk in bid to reclaim world titles

Anthony Joshua has mischievously forecasted a first-round knockout of Oleksandr Usyk when he attempts to reclaim his position as unified heavyweight champion in Jeddah on Saturday.

Joshua has spent the last four weeks in Saudi Arabia finalising preparations for ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ and on Monday he began media duties in a chaotic function room at the Shangri-La hotel.

Looking to win back the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he lost to Usyk when they first clashed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium almost a year ago, the 2012 Olympic champion looked relaxed as he painted the picture of an early-stoppage win.

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Zhang relishing Hrgovic test to move into world heavyweight title contention

There’s another big heavyweight fight on the undercard this weekend, look out for Zhilei Zhang taking on Filip Hrgovic.

The winner could move into contention for a world title shot.

Zhang, a Chinese superstar, says six million watch his last fight against Scott Alexander.

He expects 100 million to tune into his fight this weekend.

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Anthony Joshua’s ‘thinking’ will be his downfall against Oleksandr Usyk, says Ukrainian’s promoter

Oleksandr Usyk’s promoter has said Anthony Joshua’s tendency to ‘think’ too ‘thoroughly’ will be the Briton’s downfall in Saturday’s heavyweight title rematch.

Joshua and Usyk will clash in Saudi Arabia, as “AJ” tries to regain the belts that he lost to the unbeaten Ukrainian in London last September.

Usyk, 35, is the favourite in the rematch, having comprehensively outpointed Joshua, 32, last year. And Krassyuk feels that his fighter’s boxing ability will not be the only decisive factor in Jeddah.

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Ben Whittaker ready to shine on Usyk vs Joshua 2 undercard

It’s the undercard press conference now and one of the more intriguing fighters to look out for early before the main event is Ben Whittaker.

It’s Petar Nosic for the 1-0 former Olympian, and while the Croatian opponent is 6-0, the interesting aspect is how Whittaker soaks up the atmosphere and gets his personality across.

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Anthony Joshua enjoying being ‘underdog’ for Oleksandr Usyk rematch, Eddie Hearn claims

Anthony Joshua is thriving on his underdog status heading into Saturday’s heavyweight rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua is seeking to defy the odds by reclaiming the WBA, IBF and WBO belts he surrendered to the Ukrainian pound-for-pound contender at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last year.

Although the conclusive points defeat was a shattering setback, Hearn believes Joshua has benefited from having a heavy burden lifted from his shoulders.

“The pressure’s off,” Hearn told the PA news agency. “I know he must win, but now he’s the underdog and people aren’t expecting him to win.

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Eddie Hearn on why Round 6 is crucial in Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2

Eddie Hearn has explained why the sixth round may be crucial in Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua was outpointed by Usyk in London last September, losing the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles to the unbeaten Ukrainian.

On Saturday, Joshua will seek to regain the belts and avenge the loss in another 12-round clash, with his promoter Hearn echoing the feeling of many pundits that “AJ” must go for the knockout.

“I just feel like he’s gonna do everything right and let those hands go,” Hearn said at Tuesday’s open workouts in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the rematch will take place.

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Oleksandr Usyk shows off speed in workout ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch

Oleksandr Usyk used his public workout for Saturday’s clash with Anthony Joshua to display his lightning-fast reactions through a trick involving four coins.

Standing in the centre of the ring at the Saudi Airlines Club, the Ukrainian unified heavyweight champion lined the coins up on his hand, wrist and arm before flicking them into the air and catching each one.

It was an impressive display of dexterity and was the centrepiece of a 10-minute session that also included some dance moves.

He wore a T-shirt showing the colours of the Ukrainian flag with the slogan ‘Colours of Freedom’, a reference to his nation’s war with Russia.

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Anthony Joshua could retire with second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk, says Carl Froch

Carl Froch believes if Anthony Joshua has a “bad defeat” in his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk then the British boxer could hang up his gloves.

Joshua is due to fight Usyk on 20 August after losing to the Ukrainian last September. Froch does not know where the 32-year-old would go if he was to suffer another damaging loss.

“If Anthony Joshua loses his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk and it’s a bad defeat — a conclusive points loss or a heavy knockout — it could be the end for AJ,” Froch said.

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The Independent’s pound-for-pound boxing rankings

The boxing landscape is arguably as intriguing as it has ever been.

The past few years have seen heavyweight epics for the ages between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, they have seen Saul “Canelo” Alvarez establish himself as the face of the sport in the eyes of many fans, and they have seen frequent displays of technical brilliance from champions in lighter weight classes.

There have been upsets, title unifications, and there has been no shortage of drama – Anthony Joshua’s defeats by Andy Ruiz Jr and Oleksandr Usyk standing out as prime examples.

All of these fights and results have factored into The Independent’s own top 10, pound-for-pound rankings for men’s boxers, to be updated monthly.

While there is no exact science to putting together lists such as this, a number of factors have been considered in making the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, level of activity and calibre of opposition.

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Usyk vs Joshua 2: Main event and full undercard

Oleksandr Usyk (C) vs Anthony Joshua (heavyweight)

Filip Hrgovic vs Zhilei Zhang (heavyweight)

Callum Smith vs Mathieu Bauderlique (light-heavyweight)

Ramla Ali vs Crystal Garcia Nova (women’s super-bantamweight)

Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera (cruiserweight)

Andrew Tabiti vs Tyrone Spong (heavyweight)

Daniel Lapinvs Jozef Jurko (light-heavyweight)

Ziyad Almaayouf vs Jose Alatorre (super-lightweight)



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