Oleksandr Usyk is back in his element of Ukraine and giving his thoughts on the debacle in the aftermath of facing Anthony Joshua.
Usyk dominated Joshua for the second time but had two tough pills to swallow from the final bell.
Firstly, one judge ultimately got it wrong in awarding Joshua the fight for a split decision to Usyk. Secondly, Joshua had a meltdown unseen before by a British fighter in the ring.
Throwing Usyk’s belts over the top rope, Joshua stole the spotlight with a lengthy ramble. His new trainer Robert Garcia even called it “a lack of respect” by AJ.
Having time to process, Usyk spoke out in an interview with sponsors Parimatch.
He said: “Glad to be back in my native Kyiv. Everything is almost the same as before!
“What remains unchanging is the question of Ukrainian journalists.
How do you feel about the status of the winner? When is the next fight? What about Crimea?
“Thank you all for your support, and continue to bring victory closer together. The first – in the ring – is already there! We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine!”
Continuing in the Parimatch sitdown, Usyk urged Joshua to drop some of the hangers-on he believes currently surround him.
“I don’t hold a grudge against him. He was upset. I’d be upset if I lost twice,” said Usyk.
“Joshua has the potential to grow. But he needs to get some people away from him because he has a lot of freeloaders. Joshua is a good man. So I say to him well done.”
“In the ninth round, I felt a lot of pressure. But I understood It was not as hard for me as for some guys on the front line.
“After round nine, I said to my coach, “Should I start [to fight harder]” He said, “Go ahead.”
On the verdict, Usyk added: “I don’t want to talk about the competence of the judges, but when I watched the rematch with Anthony Joshua, I can say that four, well, we can give a maximum of five rounds to Joshua.
“If Fury goes away [and doesn’t want to fight], then maybe we will agree on a third fight with Joshua.”
Usyk then explained why he is okay with giving Fury time to explore his relationship with WWE.
“Fighting Tyson Fury in December is impossible. First, I have old injuries. Second, I just don’t want to box in December.
“I haven’t left the gym for half a year. I want to be with my children and my family. Boxing can wait for a little while. I think maybe next year it will happen.”
In the final moments of the interview with Parimatch, Usyk revealed that former opponents have enquired about him.
“All the guys I talk to are interested in how things are going, how I am doing. When it all started, Tony Bellew wrote, and Derek Chisora.
“They certainly supported me [during the war], mostly asked how they could help Ukraine and me personally.”
The views expressed in this article are the opinions of Phil Jay.