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Oleksandr Usyk told not to push for Anthony Joshua knockout as he makes rematch claim

·2 min read
Anthony Joshua was dominated by Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium  (Getty Images)
Anthony Joshua was dominated by Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (Getty Images)

New world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk insists he is not yet contemplating a potential rematch with Anthony Joshua and says he was told by his corner not to push for a knockout in Saturday’s one-sided title clash.

Usyk produced a sublime performance in front of 66,267 stunned fans at an atmospheric Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to end Joshua’s second title reign, claiming the WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts and following Evander Holyfield and David Haye as only the third man ever to win world titles at both cruiserweight and heavyweight.

It was a thoroughly deserved unanimous decision victory for the skilled southpaw, who wrecked Joshua’s hopes of finally meeting rival Tyson Fury - who faces Deontay Wilder for the third time in Las Vegas on October 9 - in a lucrative all-British unification mega fight.

A celebratory Usyk said afterwards that his gameplan on the night worked to perfection, though added that a knockout was never on the cards despite appearing to push hard for one in the closing stages.

"This means a lot for me. The fight went the way I expected it to go. There were moments when Anthony pushed me hard but it was nothing special," Usyk told Sky Sports Box Office.

"I had no objective to knock him out because my corner pushed me not to do that. In the beginning, I tried to hit him hard, but then I stuck to my job.

"The only thing I wanted to do with this fight is to give praise to Jesus Christ.”

Usyk will almost certainly face Joshua again in his next fight, with the deposed champion possessing a rematch clause that promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed that he was already talking about exercising.

However, the Ukrainian is not thinking about a second bout just yet as he celebrates a momentous achievement and prepares to be reunited with his family.

"I have been working so hard since January in preparation for this fight, it took me half a year and I didn't see my family for so long,” he said.

"I missed seeing them playing. I want to go home and be happy with my family and I'm not thinking about the rematch."

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