Oleksandr Usyk’s team have revealed the two reasons why he is confident of beating Anthony Joshua in this month’s heavyweight clash.
Sergey Lapin, Usyk’s team manager, said his man has the ‘best technique in boxing’ and can use his movement to overcome the heavyweight champion.
“More than two years have passed since Alexander’s transition to heavyweight – and today he is in optimal physical and mental condition to face Anthony Joshua. “
“Alexander has worked incredibly hard in training and will prove against Joshua that he is the best around, helped by the addition of trainer Anatoly Lomachenko who has brought his game to the next level.”
“In our world, everyone always needs to prove themselves, which is what Usyk does time and again when everybody doubts him.”
“And we, his team and loved ones, believe in his victory for two reasons – one, because he has one of the best techniques in boxing and two, because he uses his legs to the maximum which makes him so tough to face.”
“But of course, AJ is a great boxer, he has passed a difficult path in his career. So we wish him good preparation and are waiting for him in the ring.”
“As for the advice from the Klitschko brothers, our fellow Ukrainians, we haven’t seen them in our training camp even once. Alexander has his own story, and he has been writing it for a long time, from the moment he came to the gym at a young age. He does not need anyone else.”
The Ukrainian boxer has not had any support from compatriots Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko according to Lapin.
Alexander Krassyuk gave the following answers when asked about the upcoming fight:
What have you made of Anthony Joshua shedding weight and trying to adapt to Usyk’s style?
“We accept this news as good news because formerly a lot of experts gave his weight as an advantage. Now AJ is reducing his advantage. I’m not sure how he’s going to be on the scale and what kind of figure he will show, but he looks slimmer than in any of his previous fights. And that makes me think that AJ wants to present some boxing tactics for Usyk.”
Do you think Joshua’s size advantage could be the deciding factor?
“Some people say size never matters. I’ve heard it in many movies. Size can matter sometimes, but boxing skills, boxing intelligence, experience, proper mindset, motivation, incentive; these are smaller things that together create the whole picture. Of course, it is an advantage that AJ has on his side, and he has to use it properly to get the victory. But there are some things that Usyk has as advantages and he will definitely be working hard to use them.”
Will being the underdog help Usyk going into this fight?
“It doesn’t help much – it’s just a matter of some psychological stress or psychological pressure that can take place. AJ is fighting at home, he is the defending champion, he is the big star and a huge personality, so he has some responsibility to defend his status. Usyk has nothing to lose at all; even if he loses, he loses to the king. But if you want to become the king you have to dethrone the king, and that means facing the biggest challenges. AJ is the perfect opponent because he is the biggest possible spar at this stage. Fighting the biggest possible star with all of his skills and all of his experience gives you an opportunity to show how good you are. That leads to things that every fighter is looking for: fame, success, recognition, heritage, legacy, all things that a great fighter, not just a regular champion, is normally looking for. “
Do you think the Tottenham stadium will be a good venue for the fight?
“It’s going to be sold out and full of magnetism, full of fire, full of emotions before the fight. There might be some stress after the fight. Fighting in a stadium is always something special because when you have 60,000 in attendance it makes an extraordinary atmosphere. All the fans come together where they support their fighter, all the sounds, all the lights. In my 16 years in boxing I’ve visited many shows but only a few of them were in football stadiums and it’s always a very unforgettable experience to be a part of the fight.”
What can Usyk learn from Joshua’s only career defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr?
“The fight with Ruiz can be some sort of guide for any fighter, but AJ didn’t look proper in that fight. It was his debut in the United States, it was a late replacement of the opponent and he wasn’t prepared for that kind of fight. He lost by chance and then in just three or four months he corrected his mistake easily and got his belt back. Joshua only lost once, but Joshua faced a Southpaw only once when he first became world champion. Let’s be fair, Charles Martin was lucky to get his belt without victory because his opponent was injured and didn’t make it to the end of the fight. Eddie Hearn was very smart to get that fight for AJ and make him world champion. That was his only experience as a professional facing a Southpaw, but he’s never faced a skilled, high boxing IQ Southpaw, and I think it’s going to be the biggest challenge for AJ.”
How is Usyk’s preparation going ahead of the fight?
“It’s going brilliantly. Usyk spent April and May working really hard. Now when you look at him, you don’t hesitate anymore and wonder whether it’s heavyweight or cruiserweight in front of you: it’s 100% heavyweight. He did a really great job with his functional muscles; now he is working really hard in his training camp and just coming to the end. He’s had many sparring partners, a lot of experience inside the ropes. He is so tired of the work but he is so inspired that you can just recharge the batteries.”
Did you see Tyson Fury’s comments about how Usyk hasn’t looked very good in previous fights?
“His comments made Usyk sound smart. Tyson said that Usyk might be much smarter than everyone thinks because he hid his real skill and real potential in previous fights, giving himself a chance to face the king. I’m not thinking there’s more to come – the only thing I’m thinking is that victory is going to come for Usyk.”