‘Oleksandr Usyk is good but Anthony Joshua beats him’ – says Eric Molina
By Charles Brun: Former two-time heavyweight world champion Eric Molina says Anthony Joshua has too much size and power for ex-cruiserweight four-belt champ Oleksandr Usyk to deal with this Saturday night in September 25th.
While Molina is impressed by Usyk’s overall boxing ability, he feels that he’s too small to compete with the super heavyweights in this era.
The 6’3″, 215 to 220-lb Usyk won’t be able to compete with the much bigger 6’6″, 240+ lb Joshua on Saturday night at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London, England.
Molina, 39, believes that Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) will retain his IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles with a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision over the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs).
Can Usyk win a decision over Joshua in London?
We haven’t seen Joshua struggle against a heavyweight Usyk’s side since turning professional in 2013, but he certainly had massive problems in the 2012 London Olympics against Erislandy Savon.
The Cuban fighter is roughly the same size as Usyk, and he arguably beat Joshua and was on the receiving end of what some fans believe was a hometown decision.
If Savon was able to fight well enough to rate a win over Joshua, Usyk can too. However, Usyk could have the same problems Savon did in trying to win a decision over Joshua in London.
Usyk will probably need to put it on Joshua and make it so clear that he’s the better fighter of the two that the judges won’t be able to take away his victory.
Other than that, Usyk is up against it fighting Joshua in London in front of 60,000 pro-AJ fans at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium.
Usyk has going for him, though, that he’s not dumb enough to try and a decision if he gets Joshua hurt.
Who can forget how Wladimir Klitschko let Joshua off the hook after hurting him in the sixth round in their fight in 2017 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Instead of Wladimir going for the coup de grace, he chose box Joshua and tried to win a decision. It was an insane move on Wladimir’s part, and he had Joshua right where he wanted, badly hurt and gassed out, and he let him survive.
If Usyk is in the same position on Saturday, you bet he’ll look to put Joshua out of his misery. He won’t make the same dumb mistake as Wladimir did, letting Joshua survive and believing that he can win a decision.
Usyk knows where he’s fighting, and he’s not going to let the judges decide the outcome if he can help it.
Joshua beats Usyk by lopsided decision
“There are things that Joshua does great. Joshua is going to bring the power, the size. Usyk is going to bring 220, 225,” said Eric Molina to iFL TV in breaking down the Joshua vs. Usyk fight.
— Eddie Hearn (@EddieHearn) September 20, 2021
“So I kind of feel that Usyk doesn’t have the size for the heavyweight division in this era. Many heavyweights have harped on that, and they’ve criticized his size. He’s got great technique and great skill.
“Obviously, that’s going to keep him in the fight. I can see that fight going to a unanimous decision to Joshua. I think that Usyk is very intelligent and very experienced.
“He knows what to do to get in and out of trouble, and I think he’ll be able to survive. But I don’t see him putting Joshua into any kind of big trouble. I can see a 9-3 or 10-2 type of victory.
“Yeah, I think size and power definitely both [will play a factor in the fight]. Usyk is a top warrior, a top cruiserweight champion, but in this era, the guys are just so big.
“I walk around at 6’5″, 250, and that’s a small heavyweight in this time right now. In my experience in the ring, it’s going to bring him [Usyk] some problems in the heavyweight division,” Molina said.
Molina is likely making his prediction based on the assumption that Usyk won’t try and punch the fight to Joshua if he goes into his prevent defense using the Klitschko style.
In Joshua’s rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. in December 2019, he fought in the same safety-first style that former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko used during the second half of his career.
It worked because Ruiz Jr. was so was grossly overweight and untrained for the fight that he couldn’t get to Joshua. Ruiz Jr. was carrying way too much fat and couldn’t waddle close enough to get his shots off the way he had in their first encounter in June 2019.
Joshua-Usyk = chess match
“Joshua has been getting more experience than he had against Andy Ruiz,” said Molina. “He made some mistakes in that fight. I’m not taking anything away from Andy Ruiz.
“I’m a big fan of his, but if he [Joshua] had stayed composed and boxed and did some things [he would have had an easy time].
“He [Joshua] went in for the kill and got reckless and lost the fight. He’s going to learn from that and learn what he should and shouldn’t do in the pocket, even against a type of fighter like Usyk.
“That’s going to be to his advantage because he’s made those mistakes before, and he’s corrected them. In my opinion, I think Usyk is a better boxer than Andy Ruiz.
“He can move well, and he’s coming from the left-handed position. He’s intelligent and can slip, and uses the ring better.
“There are obviously things that Andy Ruiz does better than Usyk. But in that aspect, Usyk does have the better movement and better boxer.
“He’s definitely going to have to think about boxing and slipping in and out very carefully. It could be a chess game, and it really can.
“I think it’s going to be a competitive fight, but I can see it going 9-3 at worse [for Joshua]. And I think 8-4 is getting a little too close for comfort.
“I think Joshua is a smart fighter, and he’s going to adjust and be prepared for what Usyk is going to do.
“Usyk is going to bring what he brings. There’s no secret game plan, and he’s fought a certain way.
“He’s coming up to the heavyweight division, and he knows what he’s about. So I think Joshua will be prepared for that,” said Molina.
We may see a chess match between Joshua and Usyk on Saturday because there’s much respect on AJ’s part for the Ukrainian fighter.
Also, Joshua won’t want to get reckless as he did against Ruiz and run into one of Usyk’s counters. The southpaw Usyk may not be the biggest or most powerful, but if he catches Joshua cleanly with one of his hard left hands, he can hurt him.
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