After being battered by Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua was brought to the hospital with a possible shattered eye socket.
And after the ninth round of his heavyweight points defeat, promoter Eddie Hearn claimed that the ousted heavyweight champion couldn’t see out of it.
Joahua failed to capitalize on his 18-pound weight advantage over Usyk, who landed a flurry of big southpaw blows throughout the fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
As Usyk gained control of the action in the tenth round of a great fight, AJ had a visibly black and swollen eye.
At White Hart Lane, the Ukrainian ended with a flourish in the last rounds to put the victory beyond doubt and seal a unanimous 117-112, 116-112, and 115-113 verdict.
Joshua was removed out of the ring and sent to the hospital for tests right away.
“He’ll go to the hospital,” Hearn added later.
“I’m not sure if he damaged his eye socket, but it doesn’t look good.”
“After the ninth round, he complained he couldn’t see, and he was definitely getting tagged a lot.
“His power appeared to have faded, his tank was empty, and it was only his willpower that kept him standing in the 12th round.”
Hearn also stated that AJ would be forced to rematch, and that the Brit believed he already knew how to defeat Usyk the next time around.
“He is already talking about the rematch now,” Hearn said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“The first thing he said was, ‘I know I can beat him; I know precisely what I need to do.’
“(He stated it) just now in the locker room. You talk about the rematch, but actually doing it is a very different story.”
“Knowing AJ, knowing the situation he’s in, and knowing that he’ll get a chance to reclaim his belts, there’s nothing else he’ll do but rematch.”
“Keep positive even though the world is falling in front of you!” Joshua subsequently said on Instagram.
“London I adore you and thank you for everything!”
Carl Froch, a former British super-middleweight champion, was a commentator for the bout and noted the injury on AJ’s face appeared to be significant but not serious.
Froch stated that AJ had showed “too much respect” to Usyk, whose head movement and ring craft were significant elements in Usyk claiming AJ’s WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles.
Joshua was pushed to the ropes by a barrage of punches from Usyk, who afterwards stated that he felt he might have knocked out his opponent.
The result is the latest roadblock in AJ’s quest to battle fellow Brit Tyson Fury in a bout that the boxing world has awaited for a long time.
That bout has previously been postponed because to the Gypsy King’s third fight with American Deontay Wilder on October 9.