Heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk believes Anthony Joshua was “overwhelmed” by losing their rematch, branding his post-fight antics as “emotional”.
Briton Joshua, 32, went on a lengthy rant after his points defeat to Usyk in Saudi Arabia, throwing two of the world titles out of the ring.
Asked about Joshua’s bizarre behaviour, Usyk said, “I cannot say his behaviour was a disgrace, it was just emotional.
“I don’t think he wanted to offend me.”
Joshua apologised in the post-fight media conference for what happened and Usyk, who retained the WBO, IBF and WBA (Super) titles with the victory, encouraged people to stop criticising his rival.
“I think he was just overwhelmed, it was too much to take, and he just started ranting,” said the Ukrainian, 35.
“But I don’t have any rancour towards him and I want to tell people that they shouldn’t hold it against him – he didn’t do anything bad.
“Emotions took over him and he just spurted those words, but later he told me it was OK. Don’t judge him for that. Instead, he needs support and reassurance.”
Usyk also revealed what he said to Joshua when the two-time world champion confronted him in the ring about how he could have lost again, following another points defeat in September 2021.
“He was simply asking how he, the strong guy, could have lost to me, the weak one,” Usyk added.
“I wanted to talk to him, I said, ‘ease up, man, let’s just calm down, when I have time I could come to see you in the UK, come to your gym and we could spar together and stuff’.”
Asked if Joshua still has a boxing future after suffering a third defeat of his career, Usyk added: “Of course, he does. Why not? What nonsense.
“OK, he has lost, so what? It’s not lethal. It’s just a small respite to do some homework.”