Oleksandr Usyk will upset Anthony Joshua IF their heavyweight clash goes the distance, claims Tyson Fury’s promoter Frank Warren
- Frank Warren says Anthony Joshua could be in for a bad night on Saturday
- The heavyweight champion defends his belts against Oleksandr Usyk in London
- Usyk, 34, is a cruiserweight champion renowned for his technical ability
- And Warren says AJ is likely to lose if the fight goes the full 12 rounds
- Joshua told Sportsmail he is relishing the challenge Usyk poses on Saturday
Frank Warren has predicted a bad night for Anthony Joshua if Ukrainian underdog Oleksandr Usyk takes the heavyweight champion the full 12 rounds at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night.
Joshua, 31, is back in the ring for the first time since last December having been frustrated by failed talks with Tyson Fury – who Warren co-promotes – over a heavyweight blockbuster this summer.
With Fury being obliged to face Deontay Wilder a third time next month, Joshua has turned his attention to mandatory challenger Usyk, who is trying his hand at the heavyweight division having dominated at cruiserweight.
Frank Warren (L) has issued a warning to Anthony Joshua (R) ahead of his fight this weekend
AJ has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to triumph in North London and take one step closer to taking on Fury later this year, but Warren has warned that Joshua could be in for a rude awakening if the wily Ukrainian goes the distance.
‘Anthony Joshua must be the favorite for the fight,’ he told iFL TV via BoxingScene. ‘He’s the bigger guy, much bigger, and he’s a bigger puncher.
‘Having said that, if he [Joshua] doesn’t get rid of him, and if he’s still there after five or six rounds, then it gets to the end of the fight, if that goes 12 rounds, I would fancy Usyk to get the decision because to get there, he’s going to have to outbox him.
The heavyweight champion is back in the ring for the first time since December on Saturday
Joshua takes on heavyweight newcomer and mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk
‘He proved it at cruiserweight. He was fantastic, and he’s made his mark in that weight division. He was a superb cruiserweight.
‘He’s done everything you could ask for [at heavyweight]. He’s come up a weight and fought Chazz Witherspoon, went seven rounds, and he fought Derek Chisora.’
Joshua is understood to have slimmed down for his meeting with Usyk, with the Brit expecting a patient, technical match-up against the 34-year-old, who also won Olympic gold at London 2012.
And Warren says the Ukrainian can give AJ ‘a lot of problems’ with his complete technical skills on Saturday night.
‘He’s [Usyk] obviously a very smart operator, and you know how he’s going to fight,’ the veteran promoter added.
Warren says it could be a bad night for AJ if technical boxer Usyk lasts the full 12 rounds
The veteran (L) will have a keen eye on the fight due to his links with Tyson Fury (R)
‘He’s going to get inside, get underneath AJ’s jab, and if he can do that and work inside, he can give him a lot of problems. We don’t know because we want the big fight.’
As far as Joshua is concerned, Usyk is a serious challenge and will not be overlooked this weekend. The heavyweight champion told Sportsmail that he is relishing testing himself against his Ukrainian rival.
‘Talent-wise I love the challenge of this guy because he has done well and he wants it,’ Joshua said. ‘He is a God-fearing man, very religious, comes from a lineage of great champions like Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Vasyl Lomachenko. He puts the effort in and gets results.
‘Yeah, he’s passionate and dedicated to his cause, which makes him a confident person. He likes to have laughs, and has fun with his work. I have seen mad people and he isn’t a mad person. He is just fun. He is having fun because he knows what he is doing.’