Anthony Joshua has explained that a comment from Oleksandr Usyk inadvertently triggered him in the immediate aftermath of their rematch.
AJ has since publicly and privately apologised to the Ukrainian for his reaction to the defeat, which saw him throw the champion’s belts out of the ring in anger, then seize the microphone for a bizarre ran
Reflecting on it all ahead of his comeback fight against Jermaine Franklin on April 1, Joshua told the BBC : “Listen, I’m not perfect and it’s not the right thing to have done.
“I didn’t speak to Usyk but I spoke to Wladimir [Klitschko] and said give Usyk a pat on the shoulder and tell him well done and I apologise, that’s man-to-man.
“But it was just raw and it may not make sense to a lot of people, but it made a lot of sense to me.
“And it was just how much it means, to a degree.
“I thought I would feel like that at the end of my career – when it’s all said and done I’d just be like, ‘Wow, what a rollercoaster, I made it through the trenches.’
“But I feel getting so close to fighting for the undisputed title and getting that fight with [Tyson] Fury that people want so much it was like, ‘Yeah, I’m nearly there’. Then, bosh, I didn’t hear my name.
Usyk attempted to console Joshua in broken English by telling him he’s ‘big and strong’, but AJ took it the wrong way in the heat of the moment
“And then there were certain things in the ring that were said, not excuses, but one was, ‘You’re big and strong.’
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“Remember a lot of athletes from the African/Caribbean community are told that they’re ‘strong’ and I feel like it’s quite degrading because we don’t get mentioned about our talent and technique.
“I’m aware of that because I am a black fighter, so when he said I’m big and strong it was just like alarm bells going off.
“There’s loads of things that were triggering me at the time and it was just pure, raw, uncut emotion.”