Power shots, quick feet and a shot at redemption


If you need some perception into how Saturday’s world heavyweight title combat between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will go, Joe Joyce is a good particular person to take heed to.

The heavyweight contender has not solely shared a ring with each Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs), however he may additionally combat the winner of their conflict.

Usyk’s slick expertise and motion earned him a unanimous factors determination over Joshua to seize the WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles in London, England, final September.

A rematch takes place at the impartial — and barely surreal — setting of the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia, after a delay attributable to conflict in Usyk’s native Ukraine.

How can Joshua, 32, in his first combat with new coach Robert Garcia, alter the course of the sequel after being out-moved and out-boxed by Usyk in September?

“I think because he’s the bigger man, he has to be the big man in the ring and use his power to his advantage,” Joyce informed ESPN.

“If Joshua can land his power shots he’s got a chance. AJ was getting frustrated in the first fight because he couldn’t land. He needs to throw more damaging shots and land with every shot, maybe more offensive combinations.

“He’s been working along with his new coach Robert Garcia so I feel he might be extra aggressive on this combat, that is Garcia’s model and he is supposedly been working with him a whereas.”

Joyce (14-0, 13 KOs), who is No. 1 contender for Usyk’s WBO belt and expects to fight again on Sept. 24, last sparred with his one-time friend Joshua in 2017, early in his professional career, and sparred many more rounds with him when they were both part of Great Britain’s Olympic boxing squad. ‘The Juggernaut’ also suffered a first-round stoppage loss to Joshua early in his amateur career in 2011 and knows only too well what his English rival’s strengths are.

“Boxing on the again foot, he is acquired devastating energy, punching with each arms, however the query is his chin,” Joyce said.

Defeat to southpaw Usyk, 35, was the second time Joshua has lost three of the four world heavyweight titles. In 2019, American Andy Ruiz pulled off a big upset when he stopped Joshua in seven rounds, but later that year Joshua comfortably won the belts back on points.

“Joshua’s tactic is to return ahead throwing some mixtures, however there’s a hazard of him getting drained too,” Joyce added. “He’s acquired large physique — particularly his arms — so he is acquired energy photographs, however it’s about delivering that energy. When Murat Gassiev fought Usyk [in 2018], he could not land his large punches, the identical as Joshua. It’s irritating when you may’t discover the goal. When I fought Daniel Dubois, a large puncher, he needed to have his feet set to land a punch. But by preserving my feet shifting, I may nullify his energy. He had a sure 30-second window when he may land his punches earlier than he was drained out. Usyk will know the issues that labored in opposition to Joshua final time, so he simply has to do it extra effectively to win once more, so it is a large ask for Joshua.”

As an amateur, Joyce lost a unanimous decision to Usyk in 2013, a year after the Ukrainian won heavyweight gold at the London 2012 Olympics. Usyk went on to become undisputed world cruiserweight champion and beat Joshua in his third heavyweight bout.

Joyce is leaning towards the champion retaining his belts against Joshua.

“It’s in Usyk’s favor, and he’ll in all probability win the rematch” Joyce said. “He’s extra skillful however it’s heavyweight boxing and AJ has a puncher’s likelihood if he can put Usyk below strain. Usyk has acquired higher footwork and motion. Joshua has good approach too, he is simply not so good as Usyk, who’s extra cell and faster. He saved Joshua guessing within the first combat.

“Usyk sometimes takes a few rounds to work his opponents out but with Joshua he just went straight to work and knew what he was doing. He’s already beaten him and knows what he’s doing, what works. He’s obviously been working on some more stuff too. Maybe he’s been working on his power and will test AJ’s chin. He knows he can land his shots from the first fight. It will be a tough fight for Joshua and it’s whether he can turn it around. I would say Usyk, but Joshua has a shot.”

Joyce, who took out Christian Hammer in 4 rounds final month, can be in a robust place to combat for the WBC title, presently held by his English rival Tyson Fury, who maintains he’s retired regardless of hypothesis he’ll face the winner of the Usyk-Joshua rematch.

“Fury will wait to see what happens with Usyk-Joshua, he will want to fight the winner especially if it’s Joshua,” Joyce added.

“But I’m No. 1 with the WBO so if they call for the mandatory fight, then great. The belts will become available for me to fight for in the next year, one way or another.”

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