Oleksandr Usyk and his team departed today from Ukraine to fly to London for this Saturday’s fight with Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.
Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) obviously knows what he’s up against in challenging the much larger IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) in front of a crowd of 60,000 fans on Saturday night.
The former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk only has two fights under his best at heavyweight since moving up to the weight class in 2019, and he hasn’t looked particularly impressive at the weight.
This is a big step up in class for the southpaw Usyk in going from fighting Derek Chisora last October to taking on arguably the #1 heavyweight on the planet in Joshua. But if there’s anyone in the division that can find a way to win, it’s Usyk.
The 2012 Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine may not be the biggest puncher at the weight, but he’s got the ring IQ and stamina to deal Joshua his career defeat.
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“It’s a very exciting fight. Most people are picking Joshua and I’m one of them. I think Joshua will win the fight,” said Ricky Hatton to the Voice in The Corner.
“We all know AJ has been vulnerable in the past. Whether Usyk is big enough in order to do it, I’m not too sure, but you never know? He’s a fantastic boxer and his punching power has to be respected.
“Against [Derek] Chisora and in his last couple of fights at heavyweight, I think he struggled, I think he looked slower, Usyk.
“I think AJ has trimmed down a little bit to give himself a bit more speed. He’s a much bigger man, but he’s trimmed down ever so slightly to give him a little bit more speed.
“I think that’s because it’s been noticeable that Usyk has put the weight on in his last few fights, he’s looked a little bit slower from what I can see.
“AJ is going to still be the far bigger man, but he’s trimmed a little bit for that little bit of extra speed. I think he’s boxing a little more sensible nowadays, AJ, since he got beat by [Andy] Ruiz. He’s using his head a little bit more instead of going for the explosive knockouts that he’s been known for.
“I think he’s a little bit more safety first and used his boxing ability and that’s why he was an Olympic gold medalist after all. We’ve seen him in so many explosive knockouts that we’ve forgotten how good of a boxer AJ actually is. I think he’s showed it in his last few fights.
“He’s trimmed down to be a little bit sharper, as Usyk has looked a little bit slower as he’s come through the weight. It’s not without its dangers for AJ in this fight, but I got a feeling AJ is going to shine in this fight and win a clear points decision.
“That’s my breakdown from the Voice in The Corner and that’s the top and bottom of it,” said Hatton.