Anthony Joshua grabbed microphone after defeat to Oleksandr Usyk to launch extraordinary two-minute rant; Frazer Clarke: "To the people around him, where were you? Someone should have jumped in there. Someone should have stopped him and saved him from himself"
Tuesday 23 August 2022 12:40, UK
Anthony Joshua's emotional outburst after his rematch defeat by Oleksandr Usyk should have been prevented by his team, according to the Sky Sports experts.
Joshua threw Usyk's world title belts out of the ring following his defeat and then launched into a remarkable speech in the aftermath of his split decision loss to Usyk in Jeddah.
But Frazer Clarke, a close friend of Joshua, felt that the British heavyweight star should have been given time to retain his composure.
"As a gym friend and a friend in general, for anyone that is offended by what happened, I think I can just apologise on his behalf for the outburst," Clarke told Sky Sports.
"He might be mad at me for saying this and the whole team might be mad at me for saying this, but I feel like he was left out to dry by the team. I feel like someone should have saved him.
"It's words but in the true reflection of boxing, that was Oleksandr Usyk's time to celebrate that victory and he didn't get to do it straight away. I just don't think that was right but once again, Anthony is a great person, he does a lot for a lot of people, he's done a lot for me, but I feel like he had a bit of a bad one there and it was out of character. There were no excuses, that was Oleksandr Usyk's time.
"To the people around him, where were you? Someone should have jumped in there. Someone should have stopped him and saved him from himself. It was only words, but it was the wrong time."
Carl Froch felt that Joshua deserved praise after a hard-fought 12 rounds, but had then taken the spotlight from Usyk.
"He got the mic, he stole Usyk's moment but let's not go too mad. He didn't say anything that would have offended anybody too much," said Froch.
"He was just trying to speak off the cuff. He put his heart on his sleeve but he did steal Usyk's moment and it was a bit strange.
"I didn't like the way the belts got thrown. It was a great boxing match, I thought it was a great performance. But that highlights his passion - how much it meant to him and how much he wanted it."
Matthew Macklin, who was ringside in Jeddah, told Sky Sports: "It was strange, but emotions are running high.
"We don't know what he's had to put up with, to go through mentally, emotionally - all the doubters, all the haters, everyone knocking him. We're not dealing with that, he is.
"He's disappointed he's lost, he's pushed himself physically to the limit. The timing wasn't great, but it spilled out didn't it."
Johnny Nelson also felt that Joshua struggled to contain his bitter disappointment, telling Sky Sports: "I think that was Anthony Joshua's best performance ever because he showed heart, passion, determination. He was just beaten by the better man.
"Emotions got the better of him. Yes, he will kick himself, but you know what, the mask was off. AJ was talking from the heart, he was saying what he wanted to say, not to be commercially correct."
But Clarke insists Joshua deserves sympathy and understanding after falling short in his attempt to become a three-time world champion.
"Passions were high and I've seen what he's put into it," said Clarke. "I'm sitting here and I feel the loss with all of them, but no-one feels it as much as Anthony right now. When you put so much into it, your life into it.
"Remember, Anthony Joshua is not a normal boxer. Everything he touches, everything he does is under the cameras, and it may be boiled over there. A little bit heated. Let's not judge him on that. The Anthony Joshua I know, a nice, respectful human being, does a lot for charity, does a lot for other people. He just boiled over a little bit there.
"I don't think he will regret what he said, probably just the way it happened and the time he said it.
"I know he's a big lad and no-one is going to want to wrestle him for the microphone, but if I was there, I would have taken a dig and taken that microphone off him because, I know it would have been the right thing to do and given him a minute to compose himself."