Michael Hunter warns Anthony Joshua about Oleksandr Usyk’s difficult style
By Charles Brun: Former cruiserweight Michael Hunter maintains that Oleksandr Usyk has enough power to hurt the much larger IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and possibly beat him next Saturday night on September 25th.
Skill-wise, Joshua is out of his league fighting Usyk, as he doesn’t have his type of talent. Usyk can do a lot more inside the ring than Joshua can, and he’s not someone that depends on brute strength and size to win.
The 2012 U.S Olympian Hunter knows first hand what it’s like to share the ring with Usyk, having lost a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision against him in April 2017.
From that fight, Hunter found out that Usyk has good power and can be a problem for Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs), whether he’s ready or not.
Joshua’s legions of fans have already long ago dismissed the former undisputed cruiserweight Usyk as having a chance of winning this fight on September 25th.
But they could be in for a big surprise when Usyk rains on their parade with a victory over AJ. Joshua could have avoided this fight altogether and gone in a different direction, but it would have cost him his WBO title.
It would have been stripped from Joshua by the World Boxing Organization if he chose not to fight Usyk. The pride of Joshua led to him resisting the idea of swerving the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, leading him to where he is now.
Hunter: Joshua has a challenging task
“He is fleet-footed and defensive-minded,” Hunter said to Sky Sports in talking about Oleksandr. “It will be very difficult to actually get a win over Usyk in a certain fashion.
“Joshua will have to have a concrete game-plan and follow it. It will be a very hard task—[Usyk has] enough power to absorb and withstand punches”, said Hunter.
“Anybody at the 200lbs weight class is pretty much a heavyweight. We all hit hard.”
If Usyk can handle Joshua’s power and force him into a war of attrition, he can on September 25th.
It could end badly for Joshua, as he doesn’t have the maneuverability or the engine to deal with a crafty magician like Usyk. Perhaps the worst part for Joshua is what happens afterward.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 19, 2021
Let’s assume for a second that Usyk takes Joshua to school and humiliates him worse than Andy Ruiz Jr. did in their first fight in June 2019.
If Joshua gets thrashed by Usyk, he’s going to have to make an important decision that could affect the remainder of his career.
Usyk could end Joshua’s career
Joshua would need to decide whether to fight a rematch with Usyk or realize that he lost to the better man on the night. If Joshua is stubborn and foolishly believes he can avenge the loss in a rematch, he’ll fight Usyk a second time.
Only this time, Joshua’s career would effectively be on the line. If Joshua loses the fight, it’s career over. You hate to say it, but that would be the bitter truth.
Losing twice in a row to Usyk would implode Joshua’s career, leaving him a shattered relic. Yeah, Joshua could probably make money fighting in England with his faithful fans, but it wouldn’t be the same.
“And he is bulking up, and he is taller than me; he has some length to him,” said Hunter about Usyk.
“He will do exceptionally well. He hasn’t taken any Ls and hasn’t been in any trouble since he’s been pro.”
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