By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn predicts that Anthony Joshua will be utterly “ruthless” in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk next March.
Hearn says he was happy to hear Joshua sounding confident and forceful during an interview on Tuesday in which he remarked, “I’m done with f*** losing.”
That tough talk from former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) put a smile on Hearn’s face, affirming in his mind that he’s going to beat Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) in their rematch.
It’s easy for fighters like Joshua to make bold predictions, but the chances are that he will be beaten again by Usyk. Whatever improvements Joshua makes in his game, you’ve got to believe Usyk will be ready for.
Joshua made it clear during his interview on Tuesday that he plans on roughing up Usyk as if that hasn’t been tried before.
HEARN ON JOSHUA SHOWING TRUE COLORS
“I see a lot of comments about AJ when he does an interview like that. ‘Oh, he’s finally showing his true colors.’ That is AJ,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV on Joshua’s interview on Tuesday in which he promised to bring “War” to Usyk in their rematch.
“He had the responsibility as the flagbearer for British boxing to behave in a certain way. But he’s animated, he’s angry, but that’s what you want to see,” said Hearn about the new persona Joshua revealed on Tuesday.
“The response seems to be great, and that’s what you’re going to get from him in this fight. You’re going to get the ruthless guy, the guy that is going to go in there and tear someone’s head off, and that’s what we want to see.
“That’s what we need to see. So, I like what I’m seeing, and I like the hunger, and I think he should do more.
“I think he’s [Joshua] quite offended by people who say he shouldn’t take the rematch because he finds that quite insulting. Not just because he believes he can beat Oleksandr Usyk because that’s not what he’s about.
“There’s nothing else in his mind other than the rematch. Why would you not consider trying to win your world championship belts back? I don’t understand.
“It’s the same thing with the [Andy] Ruiz rematch. Everyone was, ‘No, he shouldn’t.
“He’s been stopped badly. He needs to go away now and rebuild.’ He [Joshua] takes the rematch and wins every round, and even that wasn’t good enough,” Hearn said.
It sounds like Hearn is already crowing about an imagined victory for Joshua over Usyk that he visualizes taking place in early 2022.
The mental image that Hearn has in his head of Joshu beating Usyk and showing people how wrong they were is pure make-believe.
In an ideal world, Joshua will avenge his loss to Usyk and dominate him like he did the out-of-shape 283-lb Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch in December 2019.
Unfortunately, this real-world and Joshua looked worse than awful last September against Usyk, and the chances are that he’s going to lose just as bad in the rematch.
When that happens, Hearn will be stuck making one of those ‘Mistakes were made‘ type of speeches where he evades a direct admission of taking the blame for the fiasco.
AJ WILL PROVE PEOPLE WRONG
“When he goes out and beats Oleksandr Usyk in the rematch, which I honestly believe he will do, we’ll see what people say there,” said Hearn.
“I just don’t know why people don’t say, ‘Fair play, mate. You lost, but you want to go straight back in there and fight him again. I f*** love that.’
“Where’s that mentality? The Brit mentality. ‘F*** go on, son. You just got beat; you’re the underdog. Go on and stick it on him and beat him.’ Instead, it’s, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t do that, mate.’
“If AJ turned around and said, ‘I’m not going to take the rematch, and I’m going to take a couple of easy fights instead,’ I don’t reckon he’d get any stick for that. Can you imagine. He’d be a coward, wouldn’t he?
“No, he doesn’t want a warm-up fight; he wants to try and beat Usyk, who is pound-for-pound #2 in the world. What’s wrong with that? Get behind him.
“We’ll start planning for March or around that time for the rematch,” said Hearn about when the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch will take place.
“I’d love to do it back in the UK. Yeah, Saudi is an option, the Middle East is an option, but I think I’d like to do it in the UK once we creep into April.
“That’s when we did the Klitschko fight, so that’s when we’ll start to look for outdoor venues. It can do [in April] if everyone is happy with that,” said Hearn.
The reason boxing fans are advising that Joshua take a tune-up before facing Usyk again is apparent.
Usyk so outclassed Joshua that it’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where he’ll reverse that in the rematch, and it seems reckless for him to take a second fight right away.
Hearn comes up across like he’s dead sure that Joshua will win the rematch with Usyk, and he can’t wait until that happens so he can rub it in the noses of his doubters.
If Hearn is right, good for him and AJ, but there’s a genuine possibility that Joshua will lose this fight. Once that happens, Hearn is going to have pie in his face, and he’s going to be second-guessed by fans for taking this foolish gamble.
Considering what happened to Joshua last time he fought Usyk, it seems insane for him to take an immediate rematch.
Above all, Hearn should be the voice of reason, the grown-up in the room that tells Joshua, ‘No, don’t take the immediate rematch with Usyk. Instead, let’s set up a series of tune-ups to retool your game before putting you back in with the talented Ukrainian.’