Anthony Joshua was brutal with himself after he lost his heavyweight championship fight to Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk in Saudia Arabia on Saturday.
The Nigerian lost by two judges to one as Usyk defended his heavyweight titles, beating Joshua for a second time.
In Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, United Sates, another Nigerian star, Kamaru Usman lost the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight fight to Jamaica-born Briton, Leon Edwards, who avenged his 2015 loss to Usman.
Edwards became Britain’s second ever UFC champion.
Immediately after the decision was announced in his own fight, Joshua threw two of Usyk’s belts on the floor and headed for his changing room before storming back to the ring to shake Usyk’s hand.
He then picked up the microphone and went on an expletive-filled rant, discussing the fight, his career, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and leading cheers to Usyk.
Joshua’s emotions were clearly running high following the loss after 12 rounds of stunning boxing, and he returned to the ring to address the crowd in Jeddah.
He began by referencing his youth and troubles with police as he reflected on his career following the devastating defeat and applauded his competitor.
“If you knew my story you would understand the passion. I ain’t no amateur boxer from five years old that was an elite prospect from youth.
“I was going to jail, I got bail and I started training my arse off, I wanted to be able to fight.
“I’m stealing this Usyk I’m sorry, but it’s because of the passion we put into this. This guy to beat me tonight, maybe I could have done better, but it shows the level of hard work I put in so please give him a round of applause as our heavyweight champion of the world.’
Joshua pushed Usyk all the way and produced a largely more impressive performance in his first fight at Tottenham Hotspur stadium last year but couldn’t find a way past his Ukrainian counterpart.
The former champion insisted he was a “new breed of heavyweight” in the aftermath of defeat as he labelled Usyk as a “phenomenal talent”.
“I’m not a 12 round fighter, look at me, I’m a new breed of heavyweights, Mike Tyson, Sonny Liston, Jack Dempsey, ‘you don’t throw combinations like Rocky Marciano’, I’m 18 stone, I’m heavy, it’s hard work.
“This guy here is a phenomenal talent, we’re going to cheer for him three times”.
When Usman outpointed Edwards seven years ago, it was part of what became a 19-fight winning streak for the Nigerian Nightmare, earning him the title of UFC’s pound-for-pound king.
Edwards also came into this on an undefeated streak, winning nine bouts in a row, while patiently waiting for his first title shot.
The fight started with both fighters throwing caution to the wind and a confident Usman landing solid blows on Edwards’ face and sides. The Brit countered and locked Usman down getting his own clean hits in.
In the subsequent rounds, Usman kept his feet on the ground as an ankle injury hampered his movement, but he was still able to land some solid punches on Edwards.
The fight was not close as the fourth round ended with Usman winning 3-1 and only needed to avoid a knockout to retain his title and match MMA Greatest of All Time Anderson Silva with six successive title defences.
However, in round five, the unlikely happened as the Brit feinted and tricked Usman, using the opening to land a solid left kick on Usman’s head, which sent the Nigerian Nightmare to an early rest.
On becoming the new UFC welterweight champion, Edwards said: “I feel great. They all said I couldn’t do it, they all said I couldn’t do it. Look at me now.
“It doesn’t matter. From the trenches. I’m built like this. I go until the final bell. Pound-for-pound, head shot, dead.
“I told you we could win a belt from the UK, now look at me. There is no pound-for-pound, the belt belongs to nobody.
“I told you, mum, I’d change our lives. World champion, world champion, look at me now. I was born in Jamaica with nothing. I lived in a wood shack with a zinc roof.”