Tony Bellew says Oleksandr Usyk hits more than hard enough to defeat Anthony Joshua in their fight on September 25th at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London.
IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and his legion of fans in England believe that he’s infallible and that he’ll have no problems walking over the smaller 6’3″ former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk.
“He hits hard enough to send me down,” Bellew said about Usyk to the DAZN Boxing Show. “He’s [Oleksandr] exceptional. He’s the best I ever faced. He is so technically perfect. This guy can make people look ridiculous.”
Joshua will have to figure out a way to conserve his strength because he’s not going to beat Usyk if he forces him into a fight of attrition. Usyk has fought muscular fighters like Joshua before and gotten the better off them each time.
Joshua and his promoter Eddie Hearn may regret taking the fight with Usyk because they could have bypassed him by vacating the WBO strap.
Usyk is Joshua’s WBO mandatory challenger, and that’s the only reason he’s getting the fight. No one would have complained if Joshua had quietly vacated his WBO belt to sidestep Usyk because he would have had the perfect excuse.
Usyk = Joshua’s Waterloo?
Joshua could have told the gullible public that he wanted to give them the fight that they’ve been crying for against Tyson Fury.
Believe me. No one would have complained if Joshua had done that because the Fury is the one fans are demanding.
No one is asking Joshua to take this detour against Usyk, a fighter many casual boxing fans have never seen or heard of before.
Unfortunately, this fight could turn into Joshua’s Waterloo with him getting massacred and putting him in a tough position to risk his career in a rematch.
Usyk beat guys like Bellew and Mairis Briedis because he made them fight harder than their limited cardiovascular systems could handle. Once they gassed out, Usyk took over the fights and dominated.
“His footwork is on another level,” Bellew continued about Usyk. “He is fantastic, phenomenally gifted in everything that he does.”
Of course, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk hits hard enough to knock out Joshua, and there’s an excellent chance that he will on September 25th. That southpaw stance of Usyk’s will be like gold on the night, and he’s going to finding a home for his left hand throughout the contest.
“No one is going to outbox this guy, not even Fury, purely because his feet are so good that Tyson will be a little bit lost,” Bellew said of Oleksandr.
“If he [Joshua] lets the gap get too big, then this boy [Usyk] can get away with it. He’s a big, big dangerous threat. Just think about his actual technical ability and what he’s capable of doing in a boxing ring,” said Bellew.
Joshua will struggle with the face pace
What ultimately could be the end of Joshua is the fast pace that Usyk will be setting. It’s common knowledge that Joshua has got the stamina of an asthmatic.
The guy has no stamina whatsoever, which is a product of all the bodybuilding muscles. It’s not conducive for fast-paced fights involving stamina when you’re built like a bodybuilder like Joshua.
You take a guy like Joshua and put him on the track and ask him to run meters in a sprint; he’s going to keel over halfway.
Joshua’s fans fail to remember what happened to him in his loss to an unassuming Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019. AJ came into that fight in what was supposed to be a sure thing victory for him, but Ruiz had other ideas.
This was his Super Bowl, and he went the whole hog on AJ, nailing him with a peach of a left hook in the third round.
Smelling blood, Ruiz knocked the badly hurt Joshua again in the round and eventually finishing the job in the seventh. You can argue the only reason Joshua made it to the seven was that the 268-lb Ruiz Jr was a little winded.
Former WBC cruiserweight champion ‘Bomber’ Bellew found out the hard way how good Usyk is when he was knocked out in the eighth round in November 2018.
The interesting thing about that fight was that Usyk took his time, giving away rounds to Bellew through the first half of the fight before pouncing on him in the eighth to score a knockout.