Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk press conference: AJ insists he’s ready to win

Oleksandr Usyk has never been more determined ahead of his rematch with Anthony Joshua after ‘going through hell’ in recent months, his promoter Alex Krassyuk revealed at Wednesday’s press conference.

The unified heavyweight champion, who picked up a stunning win over Joshua last September in London, signed up with the Kyiv Territorial Defense earlier this year amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, before leaving prepare for the rematch.

Usyk and Joshua square off on Saturday night, this time in Saudi Arabia, with the Ukrainian looking to retain his WBA, WBO and IBF belts and claim the newly vacant Ring Magazine title.

Anthony Joshua (right) and Oleksandr Usyk (left) came face to face on Wednesday afternoon

Anthony Joshua (right) and Oleksandr Usyk (left) came face to face on Wednesday afternoon

The heavyweight protagonists face off in their all-important rematch on Saturday night

The heavyweight protagonists face off in their all-important rematch on Saturday night

Joshua is set to pose a considerably tougher challenge on Saturday night, having opted against using his obvious physical advantages when they first met.

Usyk’s manager, Krassyuk, points out that Usyk will also pose a new threat, with a new motivation to represent those who stayed home.

“When we watched Usyk’s videos from training camp, we realized he looked like a cyborg,” Krassyuk said on Wednesday. “He’s been through hell for the past few months. It didn’t kill him, but made him stronger. He’s never been more determined than he is now.

“Few champions in the world can go through a war and get into the ring to defend their crown.

“It was an extremely complicated challenge for him, but he did it well. People want him to fight, people want him to win, people want the Ukrainian flag up.

Promoter Alexander Krassyuk (left) insists Usyk is more determined than ever after going through hell

Promoter Alexander Krassyuk (left) insists Usyk is more determined than ever after going through hell

Usyk’s manager, Egis Klimas, also marveled at his fighter, saying he endured 100km cycles in 45-degree heat and five-hour swims in preparation for the fight.

The intensity would imply, as Usyk has hinted at on several occasions, that they would have to be a better Anthony Joshua this time around.

Still, Usyk insisted the rematch would look like the first fight regardless of the changes Joshua made.

“It’s true, he learned from me, I learned from him,” Usyk said. “But I don’t think it will be anything new, the last fight will continue in rounds 13, 14 and 15.

“We had enough time to study ourselves. This Saturday will be a big, big fight. We were born to compete, for life, for belts, for anything.

‘He who does not compete, does not live. All of our lives are a competition, for anything, for something, for someone. This is why we are in competition.

Joshua, on the other hand, hopes the rematch will be very different from their first encounter, after being totally outclassed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 32-year-old left longtime manager Rob McCracken for Robert Garcia and is expected to take a much more aggressive approach this time around.

Joshua is expected to take a more aggressive approach after his partnership with Robert Garcia

Joshua is expected to take a more aggressive approach after his partnership with Robert Garcia

The 32-year-old will look to become a three-time unified heavyweight champion on Saturday

The 32-year-old will look to become a three-time unified heavyweight champion on Saturday

Joshua admitted a tough night was ahead but insisted he was relishing the opportunity to face the pound-for-pound star again.

“It’s tough, but I relish the challenge,” he said. Let’s do the work, instinct, stay focused and God willing, I will be victorious.

“I have goals that I want to achieve overnight, and I have to be disciplined to achieve them. It’s a competition with myself. Belts mean something, but that’s at the end of the line.

“I will focus on the process first and foremost. I want to compete. I have a competitive spirit.

Garcia, meanwhile, insisted they were ready to compete. “The team did their job. Angel Fernandez, myself, Anthony Joshua, we are ready,” he said.

“It was a challenge, coming out of a loss, fighting and training, but in the end the job was done.”

“Anthony himself followed the instructions and I think Saturday night we’re going to go out with these belts.”

Relive Sportsmail’s live blog as Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk met in their pre-fight press conference ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

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