Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has urged Anthony Joshua to be less “tentative” in his next fight after his loss to Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua was the heavy favourite to defeat Usyk and potentially set up an undisputed world heavyweight title fight with Tyson Fury, but the Ukrainian challenger upset the odds to claim a unanimous decision victory.
Usyk controlled the fight from start to finish as he kept the pressure on his larger opponent throughout the entirety of the bout, as Joshua was perhaps too patient in waiting for his time to strike.
Lewis, who beat the likes of Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Vitali Klitschko during his career, took to Twitter to congratulate Usyk on his victory and to give his view on where Joshua went wrong.
Gotta give it up to @usykaa on a great tactical performance tonight. For @anthonyjoshua it’s not the end of the road, but u can’t be so tentative or wait till the 8th round to turn it on. Learn from this and improve. #JoshuaUsyk
— Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (@LennoxLewis) September 25, 2021
Lennox Lewis on Anthony Joshua.
“Gotta give it up to Oleksandr Usyk on a great tactical performance tonight. For Anthony Joshua it’s not the end of the road, but you can’t be so tentative or wait till the eighth round to turn it on. Learn from this and improve,” Lewis tweeted.
“Usyk showed his pedigree in the ring tonight. Amateur Champion. Olympic gold medallist. Undisputed cruiserweight champion and now world heavyweight champion.
“It pays to take the long road, put in the hard work and aggressively go after your goals.”
What next for AJ?
Joshua would have been hoping to be gearing up for an undisputed world heavyweight title fight against Tyson Fury after his fight with Usyk, but he is instead left trying to work out what went wrong against his Ukrainian opponent.
The Watford-born boxer often starts slow and improves as his fights go on, but it was Usyk who dominated the final four rounds, and was the clear winner of the fight overall.
The 31-year-old had indicated before the fight that he would be patient against Usyk, but a more aggressive approach may be needed in the pair’s rematch if Joshua plans to win the belts back.
Joshua was able to avenge his previous professional loss against Andy Ruiz, but different tactics will be needed against Usyk, who proved to be technically superior at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night.