Roy Jones Jr. gives Joshua keys to beating Usyk in rematch

By Boxing News - 12/13/2021 - Comments

By Jack Tiernan: Roy Jones Jr. says the key to victory for Anthony Joshua in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk is for him to start faster and not give away the early rounds as he did last September in his 12 round unanimous decision loss.

Jones Jr. believes that the former IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) would have beaten Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) had he started quickly and not given away the first three rounds of their fight at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London, England.

According to Jones, when Joshua did start fighting hard, he won “a lot of rounds” against Usyk. So for AJ to beat Usyk in the rematch, he only needs to start fast and cruise to victory.

Jones’ theory on what Joshua needs to do in the rematch sounds identical to AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who believes that all he needs to do is fight aggressively from the start, and he’ll defeat Usyk the second time around.

It would be a sound idea if Joshua had the stamina and chin to fight hard early against Usyk, but unfortunately, he’s deficient in both of those areas.

That being the case, Joshua would be a fool if he followed Jones and Hearn’s game plan of starting fast against Usyk because he’ll be running on empty by the third round and will be easy prey after that.

There is absolutely no doubt in Hearn’s mind that Joshua will beat Usyk in the rematch, and that’s why the British promoter is so gung-ho on the idea of him taking an immediate second fight instead of doing the intelligent thing by stepping aside.

Joshua must start faster

“I think it’s a good thing for Joshua if he’s looking to buy more time to better himself; that’s a good thing,” said Roy Jones Jr. to iFL TV when asked about the possibility of Joshua possibly stepping aside to let Tyson Fury fight Oleksandr Usyk.

Image: Roy Jones Jr. gives Joshua keys to beating Usyk in rematch

“If he’s [Joshua] not looking to buy more time to better himself, it’s not a good thing because if Usyk happens to beat Fury, Usyk is going to be even more confident than he was last time, which is going to make him even harder to beat,” said Jones.

“So, sometimes step aside money isn’t the best thing. For a guy like Joshua, the money has nothing to do with it. He doesn’t need the money. But if he’s doing it to allow himself to better himself, it’s a very smart idea.

“What he has to do is be smarter, start faster. To me, if he had started faster in that fight, he would have won the fight because it’s not like he got wiped out totally,” said Jones Jr about Joshua’s loss to Usyk last September. “He waited too long before he got started.

“When he got started, he won a lot of rounds, but he started late and gave the first three rounds away. You can’t do that against a fighter like Usyk, who is basically a boxer.

“He’s not looking to knock you out. He’s looking to outbox you, outpoint you. If you give him the first three rounds, he’s won the fight already.

“All he’s got to do is survive and win one here and there, and he’s good, and that’s what happened,” said Jones in explaining what went wrong for Joshua in his loss to Oleksandr on September 25th at Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London.

A lot of great fights

“There are big fights out there. You can put [Deontay] Wilder in the ring with anybody, and it’s a good fight,” Jones said. You can put Andy Ruiz in there with pretty much anybody, and it’s a good fight. And you can put a lot of guys together, and it makes for a good fight.

“What I like best about the whole thing is the champions, the two major champions, are both boxer-punchers. They’re not the best punchers, but they’re pretty good boxers that can punch enough.

“So, I love that because usually the heavyweight division is filled with punchers. Now we have boxers and punchers, which makes for a lot of awesome fights,” said Jones Jr in summing up the heavyweight division today.

Some great fights involving Andy Ruiz, Frank Sanchez, Deontay Wilder, Filip Hrgovic, Jared Anderson, Daniel Dubois, and Joe Joyce can happen. It’s questionable whether those heavyweights will fight each other, and that’s the sad part.

For example, as we saw with former IBF/WBA/WBO champion Andy Ruiz Jr. playing it safe fighting 40-year-old Chris Arreola rather than a highly ranked contender that would put him back in a position to challenge for a world title.

Tyson Fury vs. Dillian Whyte: Boxer vs. puncher

“I think that’s one of the most beautiful things that could ever happen to the sport of boxing, especially in the heavyweight division right now,” said Jones Jr. in reacting to the WBC mandating that heavyweight champion Tyson Fury must defend against his mandatory Dillian Whyte next.

“Fights like that are fights that we want to see—classic boxers vs. classic punchers. Dillian Whyte is definitely a puncher, and Fury is definitely a classic boxer who can also punch. So it makes for a very interesting night,” said Jones Jr.

Whyte is a good slugger, but he’s little more than Dereck Chisora 2.0, especially now. Dillian is essentially a knock-off version of Chisora and a lot of hard mileage on him.

The knockout loss Whyte suffered at the hands of 41-year-old Alexander Povetkin last year wasn’t an accident. Whyte can’t take a punch, and he’s easy to hit.

Whyte needs to raise his game

Although Fury isn’t a huge puncher, if he can land as many shots on Whyte’s chin as journeyman Mariusz Wach did in their fight in December 2019, he’ll knock him out, especially if the Gypsy King hits him in the back of the head like he repeatedly did against Wilder.

WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) has proven himself more than proficient in dealing with punchers in his past fights with Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder Dereck Chisora, and to some extent Steve Cunningham.

With Fury being ordered by the World Boxing Council to defend against mandatory Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs), this may not be the exciting encounter that Roy and some fans believe it will be.

Whyte is pretty basic and one-paced, and it’s not going to be difficult for Fury’s trainer Sugarhill Steward to come up with a game plan to defeat Whyte and likely knock him out.

At this point, it’s still too early to know if Fury will take the fight with Whyte. Joshua could surprise the fans by suddenly agreeing to step aside so that Fury and Usyk can square off for the undisputed championship in the weight class.

Joshua knows what he stands to lose if he gets beaten by Usyk a second time. AJ stands to lose everything should he get beaten a second time by Oleksandr in early 2022.

Not only will Joshua lose out on a $100 million payday for a fight with Fury, but his career will be meteor dust.