Anthony Joshua announces fight with Oleksandr Usyk
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Anthony Joshua has been backed by English heavyweight title holder Fabio Wardley to brush off Oleksandr Usyk and be in position to take on Tyson Fury in the long-awaited world title fight. Joshua is due to fight Usyk on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Joshua had been set to take on Fury on August 14 however a court of arbitration ordered that Fury honour his rematch clause with Deontay Wilder, meaning that the British heavyweight contest had to be delayed.
Now the fight will only take place if both Joshua and Fury overcome their respective challenges.
Joshua has been backed by many to make light work of Usyk despite the Ukrainian’s immaculate professional record and history against British fighters.
Usyk has already made light work of Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora in an impressive career so far, but only recently moved up to the heavyweight division.
Wardley is the latest to suggest that the Watford native will waltz past his challenger.
JUST IN: Anthony Joshua ‘doing fine’ as he prepares for Oleksandr Usyk fight
Speaking on the BetFred TV Boxing Show, the 26-year-old said: “He [Usyk] has not pulled off the best performances since he’s been in the heavyweight division, so to then jump in with someone like Joshua, it’s quite a big leap.
“Not to say that Usyk doesn’t have the experience to deal with that but just going off what we have seen, that is where I’d edge it.
“I think he’s found that adjusting period into the heavyweight slightly more difficult than he initially anticipated.”
Joshua’s coach Rob McCracken expressed similar optimism about the fight. Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “”He [Joshua] is doing fine, he’s where he needs to be.
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“I’ll get back and there will still be seven weeks [before his fight], which is a long time in a 36-minute fight.
“He’s in the position he needs to be in. We’ll get back, me and the team who work with AJ, so we can put the work together, get the sparring and prep right.
“[That’s] so he can put on a great performance in his next heavyweight title fight.”
Joshua has been sparring against fighters designed to mimic Usyk’s southpaw style in training in order to enhance his preparations.
Shokran Parwani, the Germany-based heavyweight has been brought in for such a reason. Parwani said of the bout: “I have a little bit of the same style. I work more with my feet, I’m a slick guy with a lot of movement.
“Usyk is also a slick guy, he isn’t a puncher. He doesn’t have power. In rounds nine, 10 or 11? He won’t have the power to fight, and AJ will break him down.”
Both Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom team and Fury’s promoters at Top Rank will be keeping a close eye on each other’s events. If both Brits manage to come through the tests and win, they will be able to demand a considerably bigger purse for the eventual unification contest.
Fury takes on Wilder in Las Vegas on October 9.
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