Boxing

Anthony Joshua told to make muscle transformation ahead of Usyk rematch

Anthony Joshua has been told what he needs to do if he is to beat Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch.

The Watford warrior takes on Usyk in Saudi Arabia on August 20 for the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles which the Ukrainian took from the Brit back in September.

Joshua is now the underdog for the return clash in Jeddah as he faces a battle to reinstate himself as one of the best heavyweights on the planet. Joshua has dumped trainer Rob McCracken and brought in American coach Robert Garcia in a bid to shake up his team.

READ MORE: Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk rematch to air on Sky Sports in £25m deal

But former two-weight world champion Andre Ward believes there is something else which Joshua needs to change if he is to get revenge against Usyk and that is his weight. Joshua weighed 17st 2lb for the first fight, which is around what he usually tips the scales at.

Ward told Max on Boxing: "Man I’ve been trying to tell Anthony Joshua for the past six or seven years – get the mass off. Then you’ll feel faster, you’ll want to throw more punches and you won’t hit that wall midway in the fight where that blood fills up in your muscles and you can’t get the shots off.

"This is tough, I feel like Anthony Joshua is always this moving target, you know psychologically where is he at? Stylistically where is he at? Is he putting on more muscle mass, taking muscle off? All these variables sort of answer that question and we don’t have that answer."

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Meanwhile, Joshua has been warned Usyk is looking dangerous as he prepares for their rematch next month and is sending sparring partners packing. The British heavyweight takes on the Ukrainian in a rematch for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.

The clash will take place in Saudi Arabia as Joshua looks fore revenge against Usyk, who outpointed him with ease when they met back in September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But any chance of Usyk getting complacent seem to have vanished with the world champion preparing with brutal sparring sessions with the likes of Kazakhstan unbeaten heavyweight Nursultan Amanzholov.

"He [Amanzholov] says there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It's not easy to hurt to Nursultan but he's been on the receiving end a few times. But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home, if they can't stay in camp," Amanzholov's manager Aamir Ali told Sky Sports. "They can't keep up."

Amanzholov is one of many sparring partners working with Usyk at his Dubai training camp. The Ukrainian left his homeland to prepare for the fight after spending weeks protecting his family amid the Russian invasion. "He says [Usyk] is in tremendous shape for this camp," Amanzholov's manager said.

"He said as soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan who was sitting in his hotel and said to him, 'I want you sparring today.' Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood. He was in a really angry mood, wanted to go to war. Anthony Joshua's in trouble."

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