Power is sacrosanct in the heavyweight division. If you haven’t got it, forget it.
That’s my concern with Oleksandr Usyk against Anthony Joshua.
Usyk has fought twice at heavyweight, beating Chad Witherspoon in seven rounds and Dereck Chisora on points.
Though Witherspoon did not come out for the eighth, Usyk never looked like hurting him.
Witherspoon took the fight at short notice. Usyk outclassed him but the early stoppage was misleading.
Usyk beat up Chisora but again never looked like dropping or stopping him.
Image:Action Images via Reuters)
When you are fighting a three-belt champion like Joshua you have to able to punch.
Usyk is not Andy Ruiz. He can’t punch like Ruiz. And he doesn’t throw combinations like him.
He is versatile but lacks the equaliser so I can’t see how he wins this fight if Joshua steps on him.
There is a lot of talk about Joshua’s weight. That’s not important. Strength is the issue. If he feels strong at a lighter weight he is still able overwhelm an opponent.
Usyk is the epitome of calm. He’s been juggling, portraying the impression he has absolutely no concerns.
This is all part of the show. Like Joshua he won gold in London and went on to unify the cruiserweight division.
He’s a southpaw, skilful and elusive. If Joshua stands off that will play into Usyk’s hands.
Joshua has to out-muscle him, overwhelm him. He wins the fight by dominating Usyk, bullying him and being ruthless.
He needs to aim at a 10-inch square in the middle of Usyk’s chest, just below his chin, and pound it.
The left hook is a great shot against southpaws, touch with the right hand to create space and then let the left go.
What he doesn’t want to be doing is throwing and missing. That can be exhausting. Therefore making Joshua miss is Usyk’s best chance.
The danger for Joshua is if he allows Usyk to build a lead and then swarms forward like he did against Ruiz.
Punches have more impact when you walk onto them.
We have never seen Usyk hit flat out. That tells you how elusive is he is. But he has not been in with a heavyweight as good or as powerful as Joshua.
Joshua showed in the Ruiz rematch he has the discipline to execute a plan. He has to send a message to Tyson Fury, to show he is ready.
Getting rid of Usyk early would certainly do that. I see Joshua ending it in the championship rounds or scoring a dominant points win.