Anthony Joshua reveals Tyson Fury's 'big stiff bodybuilder' jibe and mind games DID trick him into trying to outbox Usyk

ANTHONY JOSHUA admits Tyson Fury’s taunts may have tricked him into trying to outbox Oleksandr Usyk.

Ever since the professional rivalry between Britain's best two heavyweights turned sour, Fury has loved labelling AJ a “big stiff bodybuilder”.

And the 32-year-old Watford hero has admitted that slur was stuck in his head when he tried to outskill the southpaw genius at Tottenham in September.

The 2012 Olympic golden boy was dominated by the 34-year-old Ukrainian, who triumphed in North London on all three judges’ scorecards despite height, weight and reach disadvantages.

And Joshua has revealed one of Fury’s trademark digs was ringing in his ears when he shockingly tried to play chess with a grandmaster.

From his warm-weather training camp in Dubai, AJ told Sky: “Usyk came up from cruiserweight, he is a great fighter, a 12-round fighter.

“And I wanted to box with him for 12 rounds.

“There was always this stigma that I could not box, that I was this ‘big stiff body-builder’.

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“So I said ‘cool, let me practice my boxing’.

"I tried practising my boxing with Usyk and it didn’t work.”

But Joshua believes he will make the necessary changes to ensure he regains his WBA, IBF and WBO titles when the pair rematch in the Spring.

He said: “He won nine rounds and I won three. But in the next fight I will win four more rounds and I will win.

“I will simplify it just like that.

“Then I will get back on the road to being undisputed champion again.”

Usyk’s victory was the second defeat of Joshua’s glittering pro career and hurt him much more than the shock stoppage loss to flabby Mexican underdog Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.

Pocket rocket Ruiz Jr was a late replacement for giant drug cheat Jarrell Miller, so AJ had not trained specifically to face a speedy little slugger.

And he arrived in New York with a stye infection around his eye and a swollen face to suggest he was not match fit.


But for the home show against Usyk, he was in perfect condition and admits he was beaten fair and square, which left him distraught.

“When I lost the first time I never made any excuses,” he said.

“I had my reasons but I took my loss because I knew that I would get it back, so I brushed it under the carpet.

“But this one hurt, because I was 100 per cent.

"I had no problems, everything was cool. I just went in there and lost to the better man on the night.

“It hurt but it gave me the motivation to pull me out of the position where it had mentally killed me.

“I have fought my way back and I will redeem myself.”

Following the defeat – in which he received poor advice from head trainer and Team GB mastermind Rob McCracken, as well as assistant trainers Angel Fernandez and Joby Clayton – AJ went on a tour of America’s best gyms and met a handful of the country’s most respected trainers.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has confirmed he will make an announcement on his new training regime in the New Year and AJ is currently training in the Middle East where he spent one session with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

And he has revealed the list of essential health and lifestyle factors he and his new team will be working on when they focus on his attempt at becoming a three-time heavyweight world champion.

He said: “Let’s focus on quality, let’s focus on what’s needed.

“It has to come from the top-down because I am the last piece of the puzzle, I am the last performance.

“We are talking about mindset, gameplan, brain training, sparring, our approach to sparring and what we are getting out of it, dietary needs, sleep, recovery, what I am listening to like motivation speeches.

“Because this is the biggest stage of my career, fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.”

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