Oleksandr Usyk reveals what was ‘strange’ about Anthony Joshua before title fight

Oleksandr Usyk has said he noticed “strange” behaviours in Anthony Joshua when studying footage of the Briton before their fight last year.

Usyk comfortably outpointed Joshua in London in September to become WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champion and remain undefeated.

The Ukrainian looks set to fight Joshua again in 2022, likely in spring, with “AJ” having triggered a rematch clause, and Usyk has revealed a key element in his preparation for the first bout.

Usyk, 34, told Forbes that he studied Joshua’s body language from previous fights, especially the Briton’s only other professional defeat – a stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.

“Of course, me and my team pay attention to that,” Usyk said. “They observe and analyse, we try to make our observations work.

“I did notice that he was quite tired after the fight [in September]. I noticed that before the first fight with Ruiz, he looked strange. But I don’t think about why it happens.

“Maybe it’s for some internal reasons. I don’t want to think about the reasons. The hands on the ropes, it was not quite that unusual; there might be very different reasons for that.

“I was more surprised because he was kind of distracted, chewing on the mouthguard like he was. That’s why I thought it was strange, but everybody behaves in their own way.”

Usyk’s professional record stands at 19-0 with 13 KOs, while Joshua is 24-2 with 22 KOs.