Oleksandr Usyk is ‘a true heavyweight now’ ahead of Anthony Joshua fight, promoter claims

Oleksandr Usyk faces Anthony Joshua on 25 September

Oleksandr Usyk has become a “true heavyweight” since making the step up to the division and has the tools to defeat world champion Anthony Joshua, according to the Ukrainian’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

The undefeated Usyk meets Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday 25 September in just his third fight at the heavyweight class.

The 34-year-old, who won an Olympic gold medal alongside Joshua at London 2012, unified the cruiserweight division after turning professional, defending his titles for the eighth time when he stopped Tony Bellew in 2018.

Usyk has since secured victories over Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora, the latter a unanimous decision at Wembley Arena last year, but is set to be the significantly lighter fighter as he bids to become a two-weight world champion.

Joshua puts his IBF, WBO and WBA titles on the line against Usyk and weighed in at 240 pounds for his last fight- compared to the Ukrainian’s 217 – but Krassyuk, the general director of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko’s K2 Promotions company, believes his client has adjusted to the step up.

“He has been working hard, building his body for the heavyweight division, and he’s a true heavyweight now,” Krassyuk said in an interview with ESPN.

“No one can say he is a cruiserweight fighting as a heavyweight like [two-time heavyweight world champion] Chris Byrd was. Oleksandr is a natural heavyweight now.”

Krassyuk added that Usyk will be motivated to avenge the defeat suffered by compatriot Wladimir Klitschko to Joshua in 2017, and is predicted that Usyk will use his lighter weight to his advantage but moving his opponent around the ring.

“Boxers can just throw a punch to the chin and hope to get lucky, and they might be once out of 10, but can they do it 10 times in a row?” Krassyuk said.

“You have to box and win each and every round to win the title. Boxing is the art of defence first and foremost, landing punches and not getting anything back.

“Footwork is the basis for throwing punches and defending. This is very important for any fighter, and Oleksandr is very good at this.”

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