Promoter Eddie Hearn says the key for Anthony Joshua avenging his loss to unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is to attack him and “bust” him up early in their rematch on August 20th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Hearn says it’s crucial that Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) not get caught up in trying to have a technical boxing match with Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) as he did in their first fight last September in London.
In other words, Joshua needs to be his old seek & destroy self and relentlessly attack Usyk early, looking to bust him to the face & body with big shots.
The only question is whether Joshua’s stamina and chin will hold up to the level of fighting required to do the job. For Joshua to succeed against Usyk, he can’t gas out after three rounds and go into the retreat mode for the next four rounds.
Likewise, Joshua needs to be able to handle Usyk’s power without fleeing early as soon as he gets cracked with a good one. Again, this is what we saw happen last time they fought.
Joshua fled the battlefield after getting hit with a solid left hand from Usyk in the second round, and he didn’t show life again until the twelfth.
“He’s got to be himself and not overthink things too technically and start boxing,” said Eddie Hearn to Sporting News Australia on what Anthony Joshua must do to defeat Oleksandr Usyk on August 20th.
“He’s got to go in and use his attributes. He has tremendous speed and great power. He has to bust Usyk up,” Hearn continued about the keys for Joshua to defeat Usyk.
It’s easier said than done for what Hearn wants the 32-year-old Joshua to do against Usyk.
If this were 41-year-old Kubrat Pulev for an ill-trained obese 283-lb Andy Ruiz Jr. that Joshua was fighting, it would be a 100% certainty that he’ll win on the night.
“It’s not just about being reckless and diving in,” said Hearn. “But he’s got to be smart, cut off the ring, and when he has any chance, let him have it. Put sends in him early in that fight.
“Usyk will NOT be able to stand up to the power of Anthony Joshua if he continually puts pressure on him, but that first half of the fight is going to be really important that he can either get him out of there or put a nice dent in him to slow him down and take him out of his rhythm.
“A totally different AJ,” Hearn said when asked if we’ll see a different Joshua for this fight than the one that lost to Usyk last September in London.
“Robert Garcia in the corner, a great mindset, and I think you’re going to see a really good fight,” said Hearn about the Joshua vs. Usyk II rematch on August 20th.