Anthony Joshua has explained what Oleksandr Usyk said to him in the aftermath of their second fight that ‘triggered’ his infamous breakdown. Usyk tried to console Joshua following the decision loss, but his attempts were in vain as AJ tossed the Ukrainian’s belts over the top rope and stormed out of the ring before returning to snatch the microphone and deliver an impassioned speech.
Joshua has apologised for his actions time and time again but rarely discusses the reason behind his bizarre meltdown. Reflecting on the events during an interview with the BBC, he revealed that Usyk complimenting him on being ‘big and strong’ patronised him.
“Listen, I’m not perfect and it’s not the right thing to have done,” he said. “I didn’t speak to Usyk but I spoke to Wladimir [Klitschko] and said give Usyk a pat on the shoulder and tell him well done and I apologise, that’s man-to-man.
“But it was just raw, and it may not make sense to a lot of people, but it made a lot of sense to me. And it was just how much it means, to a degree. I thought I would feel like that at the end of my career – when it’s all said and done, I’d just be like, ‘Wow, what a rollercoaster, I made it through the trenches.’
“But I feel getting so close to fighting for the undisputed title and getting that fight with [Tyson] Fury that people want so much it was like, ‘Yeah, I’m nearly there’. Then, bosh, I didn’t hear my name. And then there were certain things in the ring that were said, not excuses, but one was, ‘You’re big and strong.’
“Remember a lot of athletes from the African/Caribbean community are told that they’re ‘strong’ and I feel like it’s quite degrading because we don’t get mentioned about our talent and technique.