Tyson Fury’s promoter has tipped Oleksander Usyk to win a points decision against Anthony Joshua is the fight goes to the cards.
WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Joshua 24-1 (22) will defend his titles against mandatory challenger Usyk 18-0 (13) at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in Tottenham, England on Saturday night.
WBC heavyweight champion Fury 30-0-1 (21) is deep in camp for his trilogy fight against former titleholder Deontay Wilder 42-1-1 (41) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 9.
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk promises to present a stern test to Joshua. The 34-year-old Ukrainian southpaw is a slick mover who will look to get in and out on Joshua without getting hit.
Fury’s co-promoter Frank Warren sees his style as problematic for the 31-year-old Brit.
“He proved it at cruiserweight. He was fantastic, and he’s made his mark in that weight division. He was a superb cruiserweight,” Warren said to iFL TV.
Usyk moved up to heavyweight two years ago after unifying the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO 200-pound titles and winning the World Boxing Super Series.
He defended his four world championship belts once against former world champion Tony Bellew before moving up to the open weight class.
Usyk has had two contests at heavyweight, stopping late replacement Chazz Withersppon in seven frames in Chicago and decisioning gatekeeper Dereck Chisora in London last October.
Usyk dominated Witherspoon but the Chisora fight was much closer. Two of the judges had him winning his most recent bout seven rounds to five.
“He’s done everything you could ask for. He’s come up a weight and fought Chazz Witherspoon, went seven rounds, and he fought Derek Chisora,” Warren continued.
“So now that he’s up there and comfortable, I don’t think he’s a natural heavyweight. I bet you if he still needed to, he could probably still make cruiserweight. Who knows? But Anthony Joshua must be the favourite for the fight. He’s the bigger guy, much bigger, and he’s a bigger puncher.”
Despite being the smaller man, Warren rates Usyk a real chance of pulling off the upset.
“Having said that, if [Joshua] doesn’t get rid of him and if he’s still there after five or six rounds, then it gets to the end of the fight, if that goes 12 rounds, I would fancy Usyk to get the decision because to get there, he’s going to have to outbox him,” Warren said.
“[Usyk is] obviously a very smart operator and you know how he’s going to fight.
“He’s going to get inside, get underneath AJ’s jab, and if he can do that and work inside, he can give him a lot of problems. We don’t know because we want the big fight.”
Fury was expected to face Joshua in the northern summer before an independent arbitrator rule he was contractual obliged to face Wilder for a third time.