Oleksandr Usyk was ‘mentally stronger’ than Anthony Joshua: AJ’s coach

Anthony Joshua’s trainer said his fighter was “mentally defeated” by him in round 10 Split decision loss Heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Usyk last Saturday.

Robert Garcia tells Izquierdazo that Joshua almost won the rematch in the ninth round when he appeared to injure Usyk, but the Ukrainian’s ability to hit back in the following round gave Joshua only one puncher chance down the stretch.

Usyk won the last three rounds on two of the scorecards and two of three on the third card, giving him the win. He won 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115.

“Joshua was mentally defeated since round 10 or 11,” Garcia said. “Round 10 was a big one for Usyk. That changed the whole fight and mentally we were defeated. At that point we were relying on a good punch or something because Anthony is a hard puncher and one punch can change a fight.

“That’s what we were hoping for, a shot because he (Joshua) was dominant at that point in the fight.”

He continued, “The fight went well for us, but the 10th round changed everything. The last three rounds of the fight were the ones that changed the fight. In the ninth round we were close to winning, maybe even by KO. In round 9 we won the fight on the judges’ scorecards, but it was decided in the final rounds.

“Usyk is a great fighter with a tremendous heart who knows how to finish strong like champions do.”

Garcia said he believed Joshua would win the fight as he watched the ninth round. In hindsight, he believes Joshua may have expended too much energy to finish off Usyk.

“During that ninth round, me and the guys in the corner said we had the fight,” Garcia said. “But nothing is certain until the closing bell. Usyk came back stronger in the 10th round and that changed the fight. I’ve even thought in the last few days that it was Anthony Joshua who mentally defeated himself.”

“In the ninth, Joshua threw a lot of punches and almost knocked Usyk out,” he added. “Maybe he went away empty-handed, but maybe Usyk came into the 10th round stronger and more motivated, we don’t know.”

In the end, Garcia said, the fight came down to determination.

“I think Usyk was mentally stronger in that fight,” he said. “I think he was stronger, to the point that after he was close to a knockout, he came back stronger instead of giving up. His will and desire to demonstrate to his country that he must not lose the fight made him come back.

“He wanted to give his country a message for everything that is happening there. He is a great inspiration for them (Ukrainians). His wits made him turn the tide of battle and lead it to victory. And I think Anthony’s mind is a bit weaker than Usyk’s because instead of going out stronger his mind and exhaustion are playing with him.”

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Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie

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