Posted on 10/03/2021
By: Hans Themistode
There was a look of pure shock spread across the face of Carl Froch. As the former 168-pound champion nestled into his commentator seat for Anthony Joshua’s showdown against Oleksandr Usyk this past weekend at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the United Kingdom, Froch was confident that Joshua would take care of business and defend his heavyweight titles.
Although Usyk was extremely accomplished, having won an Olympic gold medal in the 2012 Games and unifying every single world title in the cruiserweight division, Froch simply viewed the Ukrainian as entirely too small. Despite his thoughts, Froch couldn’t believe what he was watching as Usyk went on to dominate their showdown.
It may not have been considered Joshua’s finest moment as a professional but instead of piling on, Froch has decided to look at things from a different perspective.
“It was very disappointing,” said Froch in reference to Joshua’s performance during an interview with IFL TV. “But what he can take away is that he lost to an amazing fighter. Proper, awkward, technical – probably one of the best southpaws I’ve ever seen.”
The superlative words hurled in the direction of Usyk are something that was, more or less, overlooked. At least, heading into his showdown against Joshua. For much of Usyk’s amateur and pro career, he out-skilled his opposition. However, the moment he landed in the heavyweight division in late 2019, Usyk struggled with the size and girth of his much larger opponents.
Ultimately, Froch was expecting Joshua to use his enormous frame to tilt the fight in his favor. In contrast, Joshua opted to box and move as opposed to bullying his man. As Froch recalls vividly what took place on the night, the long-retired former champion believes Joshua and his entire team took an erroneous approach.
“Usyk was brilliant, he’s like a magician in that ring. He didn’t have to do a great deal. I was disappointed in AJ. He didn’t have much success. I just feel like his game plan that he executed was all wrong.”
Froch’s comments of Joshua receiving a one-sided beating wouldn’t seem to correlate with the judge’s scorecards. Steve Weisfeld scored it narrowly in favor of Usyk, 115-113, while Howard Foster had it 116-112 for the Ukrainian. Viktor Fesechko, on the other hand, saw things a bit more differently, handing Usyk a 117-112 win.
Although those cards would indicate that their bout was a closely contested one, Froch is paying no mind to what the judges scored. To prove his point, Froch recollects the 12th and final round, where things got particularly ugly for Joshua.
“The finish in round 12,” said Froch while shaking his head. “That was a bad combination that AJ was on the end of. He looked like he was out on his feet ready to be stopped. It was a wide beating.”