Alexander Krassyuk, Ukrainian general director of K2 Promotions who has helped Oleksandr Usyk steer his career in the right direction, is quite confident that the former unified cruiserweight champion can upset Anthony Joshua on Saturday night.
Reported on ESPN, Krassyuk said:
“Boxers can just throw a punch to the chin and hope to get lucky, and they might be once out of 10, but can they do it 10 times in a row? You have to box and win each and every round to win the title. Boxing is the art of defense first and foremost, landing punches and not getting anything back. Footwork is the basis for throwing punches and defending. This is very important for any fighter, and Oleksandr is very good at this.
“He has been working hard … building his body for the heavyweight division, and he’s a true heavyweight now,” Krassyuk said. “No one can say he is a cruiserweight fighting as a heavyweight like Chris Byrd was. Oleksandr is a natural heavyweight now.”
Krassyuk also said to Mybettingsites.com:
“We accept AJ [Anthony Joshua] shedding weight as good news.” “Formerly a lot of experts gave his weight as an advantage. Now AJ is reducing his advantage.”
Anthony Joshua said last month that he was going to trim down for his showdown with Usyk:
“I’m looking trim for this fight. I’m fighting a guy who is a 12-round fighter. So it would be silly of me to go in there bulky with my muscles screaming for oxygen,” he told Sky Sports.
“I’ve been training like a 15-round fighter in this camp. I will be well-conditioned to fight. That is key. What happens when I train that way? My body adapts and takes its natural form. This is the form it has taken.”
“Movement means you are never stationery to get hit. Movement is important. Concentration – when you want to [punch], you lock in, then make a move. You have to make sure your brain works. That can be mentally fatiguing so I am sharpening the mind so that I can concentrate for the 12 rounds.
“Also I practice having the ability to [punch] four times, not just once. It’s a fight for the brain. Knowing what you’ve got in front of you and knowing how to deal with it.
“You can either be aggressive, corner [him], throw everything at it. Or take your time, be clever, then knock [him] out.”
Taking everything that has been stated above (and some extra things that were not stated) into account I can only see a win for Anthony Joshua on Saturday night. Usyk is impressively mobile and is quick to get out of range after throwing his punches.
But with a 4 inch reach disadvantage and giving away 3 inches in height, I think the physical aspects will be just too much for the Ukrainian challenger. Add to that, the fact that Usyk did not look all that impressive against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora does not do much to convince me that he has a high chance, either.
It is a little interesting to hear the rumours that Joshua has come in lighter for this fight, as I would have expected him to do the opposite and either stayed at his usual weight. Or, put a little more on in order to make Usyk feel the difference. I think that it is a strategic decision that may turn out to be an unnecessary one. But we will see if there is any truth to that when both boxers weigh in on the scales on Friday afternoon.
It is also interesting that Usyk will be the first challenger who will use a southpaw stance against the Brit. That may cause a few problems for the bigger man for a few rounds until he adjusts.
But in the end, the only hand that I see being raised at the end is Joshua’s after scoring a knockout somewhere around the 7th.
And then hopefully both Joshua and Tyson Fury, should he come through victorious against Deontay Wilder next month in a needless defence, will seriously attempt to make the heavyweight clash that we all want to see!