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Joshua must “start a lot quicker” against Usyk says Tony Bellew

Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk boxing photo

By Adam Baskin: Tony Bellew believes that Anthony Joshua must start “a lot quicker” in the rematch with Oleksandr Usyk to have a chance of defeating him on August 20th.

Bellew feels that Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) made the mistake of starting slowly against Uysk (19-0, 13 KOs) last September and let him build momentum that carried him over into the later rounds.

It’s debatable whether Joshua starting faster will help improve his chances of defeating Usyk, but he’s got to at least try.

Joshua attempted to start fast last September, but he seemed to change his mind after Usyk nailed him with a surprisingly mighty left hand in the first round.

The speed & power of that punch put Joshua into the defensive mode, as he didn’t want to get hit again by Usyk and wind up in the same situation he was in when Andy Ruiz Jr. stopped him in 2019.

After his loss to Usyk last September in London, the 32-year-old Joshua is back to square one in his career.

He’ll be coming into the fight as a challenger when he challenges the 2012 Olympic gold medalist for his IBF, WBA & WBO heavyweight titles in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

AJ’s loss last September was his second in his previous four fights and a clear sign that he must take drastic measures to save his nine-year professional career.

The move Joshua to change course in his career was to jettison his long-time coach Robert McCracken in favor of new trainer Robert Garcia.

It’s not that McCracken is being blamed for Joshua’s losses to Usyk and Andy Ruiz Jr, but rather a situation where AJ felt he needed a change to help right the ship before it’s too late.

“He’ll want ‘AJ’ to start a lot quicker because if Usyk is allowed to settle early, then you might just see a repeat of the first fight,” said Tony Bellew to DAZN News about what Joshua must do differently in the rematch with IBF/WBA/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk.

“If Joshua can use his size, speed, and power, but do it correctly, then he can get Usyk’s attention and let him know he’s in with a different animal from the first fight. That’s the approach Joshua should take. Let Usyk know he’s in a tough fight right from the outset,” said Bellew.

If Joshua starts fast on August 20th, he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t get careless as he did in his loss to Ruiz because Usyk is an excellent counter puncher.

If Joshua gets reckless, Usyk will counter him repeatedly, and he could almost immediately hurt him. It would be safer for Joshua to start slowly.

“This fight will mean the world to Joshua after what happened in the first one. If he can’t get past Usyk, he might have to put his world title dreams on hold for a little while, but that doesn’t mean that the climb back to the top won’t be eventful,” said Bellew.


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