Joshua: Usyk is a ’perfect’ fighter

Anthony Joshua says Oleksandr Usyk should be the favourite against Tony Bellew

Anthony Joshua says Oleksandr Usyk should be the favourite against Tony Bellew

But only for this moment, I am not thinking about anything. It's just the way it goes and I believe I've got a style that will cause Oleksandr Usyk a lot of problems.

So as unbeatable as Usyk looks physically, if anyone is going to beat him it's going to be Bellew.

Bellew and trainer David Coldwell need a very strong game-plan, said the former WBA and IBF super-middleweight champion.

The Bomber takes on the Ukranian at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, in what will surely be his final fight.

"No disrespect to Gassiev because he's an excellent fighter but on that night he froze and he was a walking punch bag". That's the reason I didn't struggle with David Haye's speed and David Haye is much quicker than Oleksandr Usyk with one punch, and much, much, more destructive with the way he hits.

If Tony can work to that game plan, which might be - get your gloves up high, don't get hit with silly shots, and back up Usyk for five or six rounds. You might lose the rounds, but you can try to exhaust him for the second half of the fight. He is a good boxer, had good movement and he can put pressure on. A close friend of pound-for-pound king Vasyl Lomachenko, the Kiev native comes into the Bellew fight as the undisputed champion at 200lbs and he certainly packs a punch as some of his past opponents will no doubt testify.

The 31-year-old is no spring chicken in age terms but he remains lightly raced as a pro with just 15 fights to his name so far, which makes him a relative novice without the head guard. If he can use his boxing brain in the early stages, he can get to Usyk with his power later on. Then, from an entertaining point of view, Usyk is like a ideal boxer, so I hope Bellew is working on his counter-punches as well, because that's the way to knock him out - let him tippy-tap and then explode.

"The most important thing is that Tony Bellew, or any of my fighters, has to implement what I want them to do", Coldwell added.

This will be the second time Bellew has fought for a cruiserweight world title, as he previously held the WBC crown after defeating Illunga Makabu in 2016. Book it online here.

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