Anthony Joshua loses to Usyk: Tony Bellew defends Brit’s bizarre antics after fight 

Bellew defends Anthony Joshua

All eyes were on Saudi Arabia last night as Oleksandr Usyk fought Anthony Joshua in defence of his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles.

After a rollercoaster fight which Usyk won on a split-decision, the eyes of the world were drawn to the Briton and his bizarre antics rather than the deserving champion.

All seemed fine when Joshua draped half of his opponent’s Ukrainian flag over his shoulders, showing solidarity with Usyk and his nation during a truly torrid time, with lots of words of congratulations being exchanged.

However, events began to take a turn for the worse. Joshua seemingly had a split-second change of heart and suddenly picked up and dropped two of Usyk’s belts out of the ring before storming to the dressing room.

Not content with this strange display of emotion, the Watford born fighter returned to the ring and grabbed the microphone.

What followed was one of the most outlandish speeches the world of sport has seen since Eric Cantona’s ‘as flies to wanton boys, we are the Gods’ declaration in 2019.

Joshua was allowed two minutes to address the 10,000 spectators in a rant, in which he both congratulated Usyk and called out critics of his style:

‘Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, ‘you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano’, cos I’m not f****** 14 stone that’s why’.

As the world of twitter gave their damning opinions on the outburst, it was up to former WBC Cruiser weight title holder Bellew to spring to AJ’s defence.

Tweeting to his 733,000 followers, the Evertonian pointed out that nothing can ever be read into a post-bout speech:

‘Don’t ever judge a boxer on a post fight interview! I can’t explain to you how much emotion and tiredness are both working AGAINST you! I’ve known AJ a long time and he’s nothing but respectful, honest and decent to everyone! He’ll be back..’

Bellew is more qualified than most when it comes to talking after a fight with Usyk, his knockout defeat at the hands of the Ukrainian prompted his retirement.

He also recognised the improvement in Joshua’s performance almost a year on from his previous loss, saying in another tweet that his fellow Brit could be ‘proud’ of his showing last night.

Anthony Joshua
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – AUGUST 20: Anthony Joshua reacts during a press conference after the Rage on the Red Sea Heavyweight Title Fight at King Abdullah Sports City Arena on August 20, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Many experts gave the first two rounds to AJ, before his incredible resurgence in rounds eight and nine which gave hope to all his followers watching on.

Ultimately it was a deserved victory for Usyk though, as he managed to maintain his incredible levels even with the weight of an expectant nation watching on for inspiration.

Whether you side with Bellew on AJ’s behaviour after that defeat or not, nothing should be taken away from Usyk.

News Now - Sport News