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

Oleksandr Usyk has never been more determined in the run-up to his rematch with Anthony Joshua, having “went through hell” in recent months, his promoter Alex Krassyuk revealed at Wednesday’s press conference.

The unified heavyweight champion, who took a stunning win over Joshua in London last September, enlisted in the Kiev Territorial Defense during the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year before leaving to prepare for the rematch.

Usyk and Joshua will face off on Saturday night, this time in Saudi Arabia, with the Ukrainian looking to keep 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 take on their all-important Saturday night rematch

The heavyweight protagonists take on their all-important Saturday night rematch

Joshua is expected to face a significantly tougher challenge on Saturday night, having chosen not to use his obvious physical advantages on their first encounter.

Usyk’s manager, Krassyuk, insists that Usyk will also pose a new threat, with renewed motivation to represent those at home.

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

“There are not many champions in the world who can endure a war and make their way to the ring to defend their crown.

“It was an extremely complicated challenge for him, but he got through it well. People want him to fight, people want him to win, people want the Ukrainian flag to be hoisted.’

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, claiming that he endured 100km cycles in 45 degree heat and five hours of swimming in preparation for the fight.

The intensity would imply, as Usyk has hinted on a number of occasions, that they expect a better Anthony Joshua this time around.

Still, Usyk insisted the rematch will be like the first match, no matter what changes Joshua makes.

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

‘We had enough time to study each other. This Saturday is going to be a great, great fight. We were born to compete, for life, belts, for whatever.

‘If you don’t compete, you don’t live. Our whole life is competition, for everything, for something, for someone. That’s why we compete.’

Joshua, on the other hand, will hope the rematch will be significantly different from their first meeting as they were completely outclassed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The 32-year-old has left long-term coach Rob McCracken for Robert Garcia and is expected to take a significantly more aggressive approach this time around.

Joshua expected to take a more aggressive approach after partnering with Robert Garcia

Joshua expected to take a more aggressive approach after partnering with Robert Garcia

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

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

Joshua admitted a tough night ahead but insisted he seize the opportunity to take on the pound-for-pound star again.

“It’s tough, but I enjoy the challenge,” he said. Let’s get the job done, instinctively, 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 persevere. It’s competition with myself. The straps mean something, but that’s at the end of the line.

‘I focus primarily on the process. I want to compete. I have a competitive spirit.’

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

“It was a challenge to get rid of a loss, sparring and training, but in the end the job was done.

“Anthony himself followed the instructions and I think we’ll go out with those oars on Saturday night.”

Relive Sportsmail’s live blog as Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk came face to face during their press conference ahead of Saturday’s showdown.

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