Joshua was handily beaten by Usyk, who outboxed him throughout the 12 rounds, but his corner didn’t seem overly concerned, with one coach telling him he was “brilliant” between rounds
Boxing fans were left baffled by comments from Anthony Joshua’s corner that he was “brilliant’ during his defeat by Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk dominated the 12 rounds at the Tottenhan Hotspur Stadium on Saturday to become the unified heavyweight world champion.
But inquisitive fans spotted that between rounds Joshua was being told the fight was going well.
It appears that the calls of “brilliant AJ” were coming from coach Joby Clayton, and not head trainer Rob McCracken, as was initially theorised by fans.
And many Twitter users were stunned to hear the calls, with one saying that he was “like a child”.
“All you could hear from corner every time AJ done something half decent; “brilliant AJ,” like a child,” the user said. “Can’t handle quick hands or feet.”
©Eddie Keogh Matchroom Boxing)
“You wouldn’t think he needed to make big adjustments judging by his corner team – “Brilliant AJ!” all night. What?,” another added.
Another critical user said: “The shouts of “brilliant AJ” during every round was weird.
“Not at any point of the fight was AJ brilliant, got schooled and hard to see him win the rematch.”
A number of fans believed that Joshua needed to be told clearly by his corner that he was losing the fight, and to go forward more aggressively in search of a finish.
McCracken, meanwhile, played down suggestions that Joshua would need to re-think his strategy for a potential rematch.
“There is no drawing board to go back to, you’ve got to apply pressure with your jab and your right and keep him off balance,” he said.
“Usyk is a good boxer, Anthony is still learning and if he applies himself he will get the right result in the rematch.”
Joshua ultimately lost the bout on all three judges’ scorecards, and has now been defeated for his heavyweight world titles twice, having been stopped by Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
He is expected to exercise his rematch clause to get another shot at Usyk, as he did against Ruiz two years ago.
However, the nature of his loss to Usyk has made him an underdog for the rematch, which is a notable difference to when he was matched with Ruiz for a second time in December 2019.
What did you think of Joshua’s corner on Saturday night? Let us know in the comments section!
The fight has also put a stop, for now, to talks of an undisputed fight between Joshua and the winner of next month’s Tyson Fury and Deontay WIlder trilogy fight.
Joshua was supposed too fight Fury on August 14 of this year, before Wilder brought forward an arbitration case that led to a third Fury-Wilder fight being ordered instead.
And Usyk, as mandatory challenger with the World Boxing Organisation, was then thrust into a bout with Joshua after just two fights at the weight class.
Despite seemingly struggling to make the transition up to heavyweight from cruiserweight in his two outings against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora, Usyk was dominant when he finally got to face Joshua.
He commanded the ring from early on, and almost finished the fight in the final seconds of the twelfth round, becoming only the third man in history to become a heavyweight champion after ruling at cruiserweight.
David Haye and Evander Holyfield both completed the feat in their careers, with Usyk now joining them in the history books.