Joshua knows Usyk is a real threat to him says Oleksandr’s co-promoter

By Boxing News - 10/27/2020 - Comments

By Charles Brun: Anthony Joshua is already fearful of what awaits him in the future against his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk, according to his co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk. Joshua already has the thoughts of Usyk in his head, and that fight will happen at some point.

Krassyuk isn’t saying anything about Joshua’s genuine possibility (23-1, 21 KOs) losing his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles in 2021 to WBC champ Tyson Fury. When and if that happens, Usyk will have lost his only chance of forcing a fight against Joshua.

Right now, Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) is the WBO mandatory, and all he has to do is defeat Dereck Chisora on Saturday to keep the spot. Usyk can’t force Joshua to fight him in 2021 because his promoter Eddie Hearn says they’ll vacate the WBO belt if Oleksandr gets in the way of the Fury fight.

Usyk is looking past his opponent Chisora, who is a real threat to beating him.

Oleksandr is in Joshua’s head

Image: Joshua knows Usyk is a real threat to him says Oleksandr's co-promoter

“Usyk is already in AJ’s head. Their fight will happen anyway; this is just a matter of time. There is no difference in how big Usyk’s win is – AJ knows that this guy is a real threat for him,” said Krassyuk to Sky Sports.

It’s not just Usyk, 33, that is a threat to Joshua. There are at least eight other heavyweights that are major threats to Joshua as well, and they are as follows:

  • Filip Hrgovic
  • Daniel Dubois
  • Dillian Whyte
  • Deontay Wilder – if he resumes his career.
  • Andy Ruiz Jr
  • Joseph Parker
  • Kubrat Pulev
  • Tyson Fury

Joshua has a lot to worry about with his next opponent Kubrat Pulev on December 12th. AJ might lose that fight if Pulev can put hands on him or wear him down by fighting at a fast pace. Either of those things could give Joshua problems, and he’ll titles even before he gets a chance to fight Fury.

Usyk needs to focus on the task at hand against Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs) this Saturday night on October 31st, at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

The Usyk-Chisora card begins at 2:00 p.m. ET, and it’ll be shown on DAZN. Chisora, 36, is as motivated to face Usyk as the Ukrainian fighter is about fighting Joshua, and we could see an upset.

Usyk avoided being exposed in his heavyweight debut last year in October because he fought an older, out of shape fighter in Witherspoon. But Chisora may show the fans that Usyk is too small, too weak, and fragile to compete in the heavyweight division.

Usyk will floor Chisora if he takes risks

Image: Joshua knows Usyk is a real threat to him says Oleksandr's co-promoter

“Once Derek decides to [take a risk] he will be immediately floored,” continued Krassyuk.

“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 didn’t show much power in his last two fights, but it doesn’t take a lot of strength to knock someone out. If Usyk can hit Chisora enough, he might knock him out, but it’ll be risky.

It’s a good thing the Usyk-Chisora fight is taking place without a crowd at the Wembley Arena. If Usyk makes it dull as he did against Michael Hunter, Tony Bellew, and Thabiso Mchunu, he might get booed by the fans.

Usyk was booed in the Hunter, and Mchunu fights. He was fighting with his amateur style, and the boxing fans want to see some action instead of Usyk fencing with his jab. Usyk still fights that style, and it’s hard on the eyes.

He’ll have problems trying to beat the taller, longer, and much stronger heavyweights with that style. Joshua has a better job than Usyk and a longer reach as well. If Usyk wants to jab Joshua all night, he’ll lose badly. If he slugs with AJ, it probably won’t end well for Usyk.

Joshua could lose to Fury twice

Image: Joshua knows Usyk is a real threat to him says Oleksandr's co-promoter

Again, if Joshua loses twice to Fury in 2021, as many expect, Usyk probably won’t get a chance to fight AJ. He’ll be in the rebuilding mode for a year or so, and that’s if he doesn’t pull a Deontay Wilder move and disappear from view for a year.

It’ll be up to Joshua if he wants to fight Usyk if he’s coming off consecutive defeats against Fury in 2021. My guess is, Joshua won’t want any part of Usyk or any decent heavyweight.

What Joshua will need after his two fights with Fury is a confidence-builder type of fights. He’s not going to fight a Chris Byrd type of heavyweight like Usyk because that would require Joshua to go back to his amateur fighting roots for him to win. It would like Wladimir Klitschko when he fought Byrd. He had to use his amateur style to get the better of him, which he did, but it was boring to watch.

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As unimpressive as Usyk has looked in his last two fights against 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon and Tony Bellew, you wouldn’t even be able to call it a true upset if Chisora wins. It would be more of a case of Usyk being exposed as being too small for the weight class he’s competing in.

We saw that recently, with Vasily Lomachenko getting beaten by the bigger fighter Teofimo Lopez at lightweight on October 17th. Lomahenko had no business fighting at 135, and Teofimo made that clear to everyone.

If Chisora beats Usyk soundly, at least he’ll know that it’s time to go back down to his natural weight class at cruiserweight. The divisions are there for a reason. If you don’t possess the frame to fight at heavyweight, you’re going to get found out sooner or later.

Is Usyk overconfident? 

Image: Joshua knows Usyk is a real threat to him says Oleksandr's co-promoter

Usyk has the confidence and the swagger of a fighter that is a lot better than what we’ve seen from him in his important fights. That’s the weird part Usyk’s confidence doesn’t match his actual ability at heavyweight or even cruiserweight.

Even in that division, Usyk didn’t look spectacular or exciting in edging Mairis Briedis and Michael Hunter. Those were easily Usyk’s toughest fights at cruiserweight, and he didn’t look like the second coming of Evander Holyfield.

Usyk captured a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics, but his win over Artur Beterbiev in the quarterfinals was controversial. A lot of boxing fans had Beterbiev winning, and he even hurt Usyk. It wasn’t surprising that Usyk won, though, as he was the darling of that Olympics.

As a pro, Usyk won all four titles at cruiserweight and captured the Ali Trophy in winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament in 2018. The final was anti-climatic, though, as Usyk’s opponent Murat Gassiev looked amateurish and unskilled.

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The fight that should have been the final was Usyk’s match against Briedis. that was by far the most competitive match of the tournament for Usyk, and he was lucky to win. Briedis was beating Usyk in the first six rounds before running out of gas in the second half of the contest.

How to watch Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora: DAZN and Sky Sports Box Office. The location of the fight is at Wembley Arena in London, England. Boxing News 24 will have live updates on the Usyk vs. Chisora fight on Saturday.