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Oleksandr Usyk: Who’s the grinning Ukrainian set to face Anthony Joshua? – NewsEverything Europe

Oleksandr Usyk juggles in the ring
Oleksandr Usyk was undisputed champion at cruiserweight
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Date: Saturday, 25 September
Protection: Commentary on BBC Radio 5 Reside; dwell textual content protection on the BBC Sport web site & app

Oleksandr Usyk first laid eyes on Anthony Joshua 10 years in the past. It was 2011 and Usyk was within the crowd to observe Joshua compete on the World Championships in Azerbaijan.

Joshua was 21 and shocked everybody by reaching the ultimate, the place he was overwhelmed by Mahammadrasul Majidov.

Usyk says he knew then Joshua can be an Olympic champion and the pair have been on a collision course ever since.

They each turned professional in 2013 and each grew to become unified champions of their respective divisions. Usyk was unmatched at cruiserweight, changing into undisputed champion in 2018 due to a punch-perfect show in opposition to Murat Gassiev.

The Ukrainian claimed his first world title in simply 10 fights, and 5 bouts later was the undisputed king of the division.

His technical capability and ring craft was finely honed throughout an illustrious novice profession. Having began boxing aged 15, Usyk would have 350 bouts as an novice and style defeat simply 15 occasions. The 34-year-old is vastly extra skilled than Joshua, who had simply 43 fights as an novice.

Usyk’s transfer to heavyweight has excited struggle followers. He follows within the footsteps of the likes of David Haye and Evander Holyfield, two cruiserweight champions who have been in a position to bridge the hole to heavyweight and grow to be champions.

Eddie Hearn moved shortly to signal Usyk after his dazzling shows at cruiserweight. The Matchroom boss all the time deliberate to match Usyk with Joshua, though maybe not so early in his heavyweight profession.

‘He is good should you let him be good’

Two fights within the heavier class have informed us little or no about Usyk as a heavyweight. He stopped Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds on his heavyweight debut after which went 12 rounds with Derek Chisora, beating the Briton by unanimous determination.

Since then Usyk has piled on the kilos and is anticipated to be heavier than the 15st 7lbs he weighed in at for the Chisora struggle.

“He is good should you let him be good. You must hit him – don’t struggle his struggle,” Chisora stated of Usyk, talking on the 5 Reside Boxing podcast.

“He is there to be hit. He steps in, hits you, steps out and in. You possibly can learn it a bit bit. When he hits you should hit him as properly – do not wait to counterpunch him. Hit him on the similar time he hits you.”

Chisora is satisfied Joshua will “get to” Usyk. His plan was to “rush” Usyk and refuse to be turned by the southpaw. Joshua has fought only one southpaw, Charles Martin, in his professional profession.

Usyk shouldn’t be precisely famend for his punching energy and is anticipated to attempt to outbox Joshua. He has 13 knockouts in his 18 professional fights, however Chisora warned Joshua the smaller man can hit arduous.

“Spherical seven he hit me so good. It was the final second of the spherical and my legs have been gone,” he stated.

“You must give credit score. He turned me on the blindside. You are turned by a southpaw and also you’re turning right into a shot. He did it completely.”

‘He is a likeable man’

Assembly Usyk you may be struck by how relaxed he’s. He’s simply over 6ft and grins so typically his hole tooth is nearly as well-known as he’s. On the exercises he juggled within the ring. Chatting with media on Wednesday he wore one yellow sock, one pink with aliens on them.

Chisora says Usyk is a “likeable man”. No-one has a nasty phrase to say about him, even whether it is arduous to get a straight reply out of the Ukrainian generally.

When requested what he has modified in his camp in preparation for Joshua, for instance, Usyk stated he “went to area 9 occasions”.

He says he isn’t involved by the prospect of 60,000 followers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as a result of he has been to soccer matches at massive venues earlier than.

“I am actually relaxed. I really feel the identical with each single bout. I haven’t got to fret about something,” he stated.

Usyk’s supervisor Egis Klimas informed 5 Reside his fighter has all the time been the identical man.

He stated: “He by no means adjustments. When he involves the locker room then he is completely different, on the night time of the struggle. Then he’s in his head.

“Even I ask everyone to depart him alone. There is not any-one from exterior within the locker room. That is when he begins to alter into the fighter. Earlier than he involves the locker room, he is the identical, on a regular basis.”

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