On Saturday night in Jeddah, Oleksandr Usyk secured a twelve round split decision in his rematch with Anthony Joshua, to retain the WBO, IBO, WBA, IBF heavyweight titles.
Usyk said that he was not offended by Joshua’s reaction in the aftermath of their rematch, when he appeared to throw two of the belts out of the ring, having apparently been stopped by Usyk’s team from presenting them to him, before Joshua made an impassioned and often rambling speech to the crowd.
“I didn’t think much about what he said, when he was frustrated, they were common emotions, all good, we just needed to communicate a bit,” he said.
“The good things he said about me I accept but I don’t take it to my heart because I want to stay humble, I don’t want my pride to grow any bigger,
“I don’t believe in praise too much. The one who pushes himself [up] the Lord will bring down, he who stays down, the Lord will bring up.
“I feel nothing but respect for Anthony Joshua, he was a bit emotional and he was bullying some of my teammates, but I don’t recommend him having a bare knuckle fight with them because most of them are horrible street fighters. I have 20 wins at the moment but some of my guys have 25 [losses] by knockout.”
Usyk is due to travel back to Kyiv after spending his time with his family, who are in Europe having left the country earlier this year. But he predicted a bright future for Ukraine when the war is over.
“The future of my country is winning the economy will grow considerably,” he said. “The tourists will all travel to Ukraine because it is rich with history.
“Many people in the world [will visit] because of our athletes like Klitschkos, Andriy Shevchenko, Loma and Usyk. Now the whole world knows Ukraine is defending itself from the second biggest army in the world. And we stand strong and we give them a lot back.
“I want to say that some people in the world are underestimating what is going on in Ukraine, please open your eyes and see what is happening.
“Ukrainians never give up, we always go the end, we always win in the end, we just need a little more time.”
His final words were for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
“Everything he does is to show that he is strong, but he is not,” Usyk said. “If he really was strong he would not have to show it. In reality he is very weak.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 – covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.