News ID: 263150
Published: 1201 GMT December 18, 2019

Usyk ‘a very credible opponent’, AJ says

Usyk ‘a very credible opponent’, AJ says

Anthony Joshua revealed he has already started plotting how to eventually defeat Oleksandr Usyk.

IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion Joshua has Usyk and Kubrat Pulev as his mandatory challengers, with the latter in pole position to be his next opponent, Sky Sports News reported.

But Joshua said about Usyk, "A heavyweight challenger that will be in my eyesight for the end of March or early-April. A very credible opponent.

"When I'm trying to build my record, I want opponents like Usyk to say that I've defeated them.

"He uses his feet very well, and positions his hands well. You can't hit him because his feet move so well. If you do manage to catch him, [the punches] are brushing off the gloves.

"What I'd do, as I have done already, is study him – from his footwork, his hand positioning, to his openings.

"Then I'd go to former people who have faced him and find out information on how to defeat him."

Undefeated Usyk defended his undisputed cruiserweight championship against Tony Bellew, a former stablemate of Joshua's with Matchroom Boxing.

Michael Hunter, also promoted by Matchroom, endured his only loss against Usyk but told Sky Sports last week, "Usyk would [beat] Joshua on points."

Usyk won his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon, but Joshua said, "Usyk is a great cruiserweight, the undisputed cruiserweight champion, who has decided to move up to heavyweight to mix it with the big boys.

"He's still exploring the division but he wants a piece of the big pie – he's more than welcome to try to take this out of my hands."

Usyk has another option to fight Derek Chisora next. His manager Egis Klimas told Sky Sports, "If it is possible to fight in between and not to wait for another six months, I think Chisora will be a good fight for Usyk."

That option has emerged for Usyk because Joshua's next opponent "sounds like it will be" his IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua vowed he would "seek and destroy" Pulev, then added, "His only loss was to Wladimir Klitschko, a great, great champion. Klitschko knocked him down three times so he is a tough, competitive boxer.

"He comes from a family of boxers – his brother was a boxer. He knows what he is doing.

"Anybody fighting for the championship is a dangerous fighter.

"Great jab, he leans back to stay out of range, like Tyson Fury's style."

Joshua teased that he is willing to spar Fury to help his preparations to fight Deontay Wilder in February.

"I think Tyson Fury would fight me quicker than Wilder would," he said. "If that's the case, I want Fury to win, because I just want to fight."




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