Joshua eyes 25th career win against Usyk

ANTHONY Joshua faces a stern test in his bid to record his 25th career win when he comes up against Oleksandr Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion in London on Saturday (today) former Nigerian boxing coaches have said.

Joshua has recorded 24 wins and a loss in 25 bouts since he turned professional in 2013.

That loss came in the form of a massive upset when Andy Ruiz Jr. claimed an against-all-odds victory at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2019.

Incidentally, the fight against Usyk will be Joshua’s third fight on English soil in the last three years after his wins over Alexander Povetkin at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in 2018 and Wladimir Klitschko.

Usyk will be the second Ukrainian boxer, Joshua will be hoping to defeat after he technically knocked out Klitschko at the Wembley Stadium in London, England in 2017.

The 34-year-old Ukrainian on his part has won all his 18 professional fights and Joshua will be the third British fighter that Usyk will face after beating Tony Bellew in November 2018 and Derek Chisora in October 2020.

Joshua and Usyk each won Olympic gold medals at London 2012. Since then, while Joshua has become a two-time heavyweight champion, Usyk won the undisputed cruiserweight title.

Speaking ahead of the bout, veteran boxing coach Joe Mensah said Joshua’s 11th consecutive world title fight won’t go easy for him.

“Joshua has learnt his lessons from underrating people from his defeats to Andy Ruiz.Jnr,” Mensah said.

“Usky has showed in the cruiserweight division that he is a great boxer and that is why Joshua has not shown any form of complacency.

“He has all within him to beat Usky but he must be patient and pay attention more to his weaknesses which I believe his team must have discussed with him.”

Jerry Okorodudu, a former Nigerian boxer and member of the country’s contingent to Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games, said, “Joshua will win no doubt but he must pull him out with good jabs and uppercuts.

“It is going to be tough for Joshua though, but I believe that with the way he has trained for the bout his strength and tremendous punching power will give him the edge.”

Joshua who is bidding to become only the third boxer to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight also said on Friday after a tense final stare-down at the weigh-in that he hopes to win with more ease.

“Now I should be able to do the 12 rounds easily because weight does make a difference.

“As long as you are loose, nimble. Loose and heavy, relaxed shots. I should be good.

“I was heavier and doing it so, now that I’m lighter, I should be able to do it with more ease.”

“There is no game-plan. Just win. Because you never know what is going to happen when the first bell goes.”

“Respect? Fear? It’s just a fight. I’m not someone who will be disrespectful unless someone is disrespectful to me.

“I respect the man. He has achieved phenomenal things.”

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