‘Usyk is already in Joshua’s head’

James Dielhenn

Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn

Usyk fights Chisora in a crunch heavyweight battle on October 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office

Last Updated: 27/10/20 6:03am

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Tony Bellew reveals what it is like to fight Oleksandr Usyk
Tony Bellew reveals what it is like to fight Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua knows Oleksandr Usyk “is a real threat for him”, says the Ukrainian’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

Sky customers: Buy Usyk v Chisora
Non-Sky customers: Buy Usyk v Chisora

Usyk intends to utilise his status as WBO mandatory challenger to fight for Joshua’s world heavyweight championships in 2021.

But first the former undisputed cruiserweight champion must get past Derek Chisora on Saturday, while Joshua must retain his belts against Kubrat Pulev on December 12, both live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Undefeated Usyk wants to fight Anthony Joshua in 2021
Undefeated Usyk wants to fight Anthony Joshua in 2021

“Usyk is already in AJ’s head,” Krassyuk, who works alongside promoter Eddie Hearn, told Sky Sports.

“Their fight will happen anyway, this is just a matter of time.

“There is no difference how big Usyk’s win is – AJ knows that this guy is a real threat for him.”

Joshua’s plan for next year is to decide an undisputed heavyweight champion with WBC holder Tyson Fury but Usyk is a looming presence as his WBO mandatory challenger.

Joshua and Usyk each won a gold medal in different divisions at the 2012 London Olympics.

While Joshua then became a two-time heavyweight champion, Usyk won the inaugural World Boxing Super Series tournament, every major cruiserweight belt and he remains undefeated in 17 fights.

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A glimpse into Derek Chisora’s preparation to fight Usyk
A glimpse into Derek Chisora’s preparation to fight Usyk

Usyk knocked out Tony Bellew on his most recent visit to the UK in 2018 then immediately signalled his intention to become just the third boxer to add a heavyweight title to his cruiserweight achievements.

Joshua said in late-2018: “Usyk needs to move up in the right stages, and figure out what it’s like being with 17 or 18 stone guys who can punch very hard.

“It’s not just based on skill, the heavyweight division. It’s based on will. How much you can take.

“I know he’s got amateur experience and has done well as a cruiserweight but if he moves up to the heavyweight division, it will also test his will as well as his skill.”

Can Usyk KO Chisora?

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A Chisora win against Usyk this Saturday on Sky Sports Box Office would be one of the greatest wins by a Brit, according to Eddie Hearn
A Chisora win against Usyk this Saturday on Sky Sports Box Office would be one of the greatest wins by a Brit, according to Eddie Hearn

“The KO does not depend much on Usyk but on Chisora,” said Krassyuk.

“If Derek is in good shape and condition, if he will be ready to be moving for the whole distance, if his stamina will be sufficient to stay focused without losing concentration, then a KO is not likely to happen.

“But once Derek decides to [take a risk] he will be immediately floored.

“I expect that Usyk’s plan will be very similar to his previous bouts. He will start slow using his jab to learn his opponent’s intentions. In two or three rounds Usyk will add some artillery and will start to gradually destroy Chisora.

“Usyk’s mindset is to prove his affiliation to heavyweights. He has finished sparring and patiently waits for the day of the fight.”

Watch Usyk vs Chisora on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 6pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren’t a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.

Source : Sky Sports