Eddie Hearn evidently believes that Anthony Joshua’s bizarre post-fight actions were, in part, attributable to his frustrations with boxing’s sanctioning bodies.
Shortly after it was announced that Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk had defeated Londons’ Joshua by split decision to retain his WBO, WBA, and IBF titles in their heavyweight unification rematch Saturday night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Joshua unexpectedly went on a bizarre rant.
Before the cringe-worthy sequence, a visibly angry Joshua dropped two of Usyk’s belts — the Ring magazine and WBA — and left the ring in a huff. He would later come back to take control of the mic and make a series of strange declarations.
Hearn, Joshua’s long time promoter, suggested the act reflected his charge’s exasperation with sanctioning bodies and the whole “system” they represent, which includes costly fees and mandatory challenges.
Joshua lost his WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF titles to Usyk in their first encounter last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
“He’s held onto those belts for a long time, and those governing bodies have charged him a lot of money and put a lot of mandatories on him,” Hearn told IFL TV. “And I think he’s lost a lot of faith in the system and I think he started to not be interested in fighting for belts anymore. I think he just wants to fight for enjoyment and to challenge himself.
“Of course, he wanted to be undisputed, but a lot of that was frustration. He left the ring, cuz he knew, ‘I’m gonna do something stupid, yeah.’ And he forced himself, ‘I can’t (just leave),’ so he went back in the ring and he gave a speech, which, he was a little bit out of it. But it was just pure emotion. That was just from the heart.”
Joshua offered a mea culpa for his remarks in the post-fight press conference and on his social media.
Hearn noted that the plan is still to have Joshua get in the ring once more before the end of the year, possibly in December.
“He’s going to be involved in some massive fights, but let’s get active now,” Hearn said. “Let’s get back out in December.”