Usyk beat Joshua in September 2021 to take the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles from “AJ”, before replicating the feat this August to retain the gold.
Immediately after the scores were revealed for the pair’s rematch in Saudi Arabia, Joshua stormed out of the ring before returning to seize a microphone and deliver a strange rant, in which he talked up his own skills but also paid tribute to Usyk.
“He freaked out, and I don’t think anyone should blame him for it,” Usyk said on the USYK17 YouTube channel on Thursday (22 September). “He’d been training, he believed in something, and then he lost the fight for the second time. I guess his physical condition was pretty good, but – thank God – mine was a bit better.
“It might be a reasonable explanation for the outbreak of his verbal diarrhoea, but I believe he is a good person.”
Explaining why he chose not to interrupt Joshua, who had wrapped himself in a Ukraine flag before taking the mic, Usyk said: “I thought, ‘You poor fool, why are you doing this?’ He reminded me of a little boy who wanted to play with a ball, but it was taken away from him; then he got angry and eventually decided to throw it over the neighbour’s fence.
“The ball landed next to a fierce dog, so was it such a smart decision in the end?”
The unbeaten Usyk, 35, also revealed that he did not speak to Joshua for the remainder of the night.
“He just left [the Jeddah Superdome], and then there’s all these procedures like the press conference, etc. And when you get all of those done, the only thing you want to do is head to your hotel room to finally get some rest.”
Usyk was expected to take on WBC title holder Tyson Fury next to crown an undisputed heavyweight champion, but the Ukrainian is not due to be fit in time for the Briton’s desired fight date.
As a result, Fury has turned his attention to compatriot Joshua, with a long-awaited clash between the pair on the cards for December.