A short while after Oleksandr Usyk spoke of returning home to water his apple orchard, Anthony Joshua sat in the same seat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and began barking up what might be considered the wrong tree.
He wants to trigger his right to an immediate rematch, most likely in February or March at a venue in the UK or the Middle East, but already there is a sense that the problem of Usyk might be one best left alone.
They talk of repeat or revenge in these scenarios, but on the basis of the first running, there would appear only limited hope of success in a second. Usyk was by far the better fighter with the better plan on Saturday, and more so than the scorecards suggested.
Anthony Joshua wants to trigger his right to a rematch despite outclassed by Oleksandr Usyk
But credit to Joshua for wanting it. And credit, too, for the manner in which he addressed it in the early hours of Sunday morning, when other fallen fighters might have bolted for the backdoor.
With a deep bruise under his right eye, he said he had serious issues with his vision from the ninth round onwards, but still saw enough to believe he can handle Usyk and win back his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO heavyweight world titles.
Experts, armchair and real alike, will be dubious about that, but Joshua is convinced, saying: ‘I’m a different kind of animal. I’m not a sulker. This is a blessed opportunity, to be able to fight for the heavyweight title of the world, fight good fighters time and time again and for people to come out.
Joshua’s contract dictates he will be given a chance to recover his WBA, WBO and IBF titles
‘I’m not going to be going home and be crying about it, because this is war. It’s a long process. This isn’t just one fight and then I’m done.
‘I’m going back to look at way that I can improve. Straight away, I’ve already been watching the fight and thinking, “I could’ve done that better”.’
He added: ‘When I was walking back through the tunnel, I just said to myself, “I’m ready to get back to the gym, I’m ready to just put that work in”.
The Ukrainian (right) won on points at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night
‘I know we can look at it from a negative point of view but, for me, I’ve got to take it as a great lesson and build on that situation.’
While Joshua denied there were errors in his game plan, it felt like a shallow argument given he repeatedly tried and failed to out-box such a refined, slick mover. Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing, but it was nonetheless baffling that Joshua remained so cautious through 36 minutes, rather than seeking to utilise his size and power advantages.
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said Joshua was possibly ‘too respectful’ of Usyk’s reputation, whereas Frank Warren was more pointed in telling Sportsmail he was ‘gun shy’.
He further speculated that his own fighter, the WBC world champion Tyson Fury, would have crushed Joshua had he been in the opposite corner, as initially planned.
Joshua’s cautious approach meant he did not utilise his size and power advantage
Warren said: ‘Tyson would have destroyed him inside three or four rounds. Tyson has great footwork, a great chin and his hands are as fast as Usyk’s and he is bigger – he would have destroyed Joshua.’
Perhaps that fight will now never happen, or at least not with the same sense of uncertainty. With it mooted at £100m a go in a two-fight deal, Joshua lost considerably more than his belts against Usyk.
‘I will fight Fury or Deontay Wilder without the belts,’ Joshua said. ‘The belts are legacy but with or without them I fight whoever.’
But first he wants to go at Usyk again. To pull it off, Hearn said Joshua will have to ‘make some changes’, and it remains to be seen if that only goes as far as tactics and style. Likewise if there are enough changes in the world that would bring about a different result in the second fight to the first.