Well, you can’t blame Eddie Hearn for sticking with his fighter. Ahead of the simply fascinating (for a number of reasons) return duel between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua – the fight, we hear, to take place in the Middle East, probably in July or August – Hearn has made quite the bold prediction.
Speaking with fans on an Instagram Live Q and A, Hearn said that he believes Joshua will get his revenge over Usyk – by “KO within six rounds.”
“AJ KO’s Usyk within six rounds,” Hearn said. “I rate Usyk but I believe in Anthony Joshua and I believe he’s going to put it right in the rematch, I really do.”
If Joshua can make good on Hearn’s bold pick it will of course be quite the statement. Usyk won the first fight (getting on for almost a year ago now) in dominating fashion and it looked in the final round as though Usyk was close to maybe getting himself a stoppage win, not merely a wide points win.
Of course, plenty of people said Joshua made a huge tactical blunder in trying to outbox a master boxer, and a southpaw one at that, in the gifted Ukrainian.
Maybe, just maybe, if Joshua the natural heavyweight jumps on Usyk this time around and bullies him and hits him and hurts him, Hearn’s brave call will be proven correct.
But it is tough to see Usyk, 19-0(13) getting taken out, especially in less than half the completed fight. Has Hearn put additional pressure on his fighter by making the prediction?
Fans have waited long enough for the rematch and now we hope there will be no further delay, the fight to go ahead in either July or August. Joshua has brought in a new trainer in Robert Garcia, and Garcia feels Joshua has to “change his attitude” in the return fight.
That he has to do (remember how Joshua made his ring entrance in September, all smiles and handshakes!) Maybe Joshua, 24-2(22) can do it.
Now is certainly the time, in what could well prove to be Joshua’s defining fight. If he can score a KO over Usyk, Joshua is right back on top of the world. And the call for that mega-fight with Tyson Fury would prove absolutely deafening.