OLEKSANDR USYK, DEEP END DIVE WITH WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE BID
Anthony Joshua, Unified world heavyweight champion was ringside as Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk defeated Derek Chisora in 2020
Joshua commended Oleksandr Usyk for “jumping into the deep end” with his world heavyweight title after just two fights in the class.
Britain’s Joshua will hope to retain his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles after the fight against Usyk in London on Saturday.
Usyk is the compulsory WBO challenger and held all four belts at cruiserweight before moving up in 2018.
He defeated Chazz Witherspoon in 2019 before picking apart Britain’s Derek Chisora in a points win in November.
“When Holyfield came up to heavyweight I think he had six fights at heavyweight before he fought for the championship belt,” said Joshua, who was ringside as Usyk defeated Chisora.
“Usyk’s fought two heavyweights bout. He’s jumping in at the deep end early on.
“But good luck to him he must believe in himself”. He wants to be at the top end early. It’s better to swim deep get in there and get on with it rather than tread water”.
“You could still end up drowning anyway. You could still get caught in a current and drown. You might as well jump in the deep end and try to survive”.
Joshua, 31, is likely to weigh in at more than a stone heavier than his 34-year-old opponent, despite recent photos suggesting he has a thiner physique.
“I’ve been doing a lot of sparring to be honest, which is also physical: pushing, shoving, and defending. I’ve been doing heavy bag work so maybe I’m just shedding a lot of the weight,” he said.
“Advantages physically is one thing but it doesn’t make the world’s tallest man the heavyweight champion of the world. You have to have the mental coordination to do what you do. He’s coming to the ring full of confident, and so will I.
“In boxing, you have to be aggressive and beat that confidence out of your opponent. It’s easy to watch from the outside but until you’re in front of someone it’s then a completely different ballgame.
it is heavyweight boxing and I’m the heavyweight champion of the world. I don’t joke around here. I’m here to win.”