Boxing

Tony Bellew vs Oleksandr Usyk: Cruiserweight king admits to carefully studying rise of Anthony Joshua

Undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk has been carefully studying Anthony Joshua ahead of a potential step-up to heavyweight – although insists he is not yet taking his eyes of next opponent Tony Bellew.

Usyk watched Joshua’s world title victory over Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium last month, but admits he started following the Londoner’s career long before then.

And the Ukrainian has said that he knew Joshua would be a champion from his days in the amateur ranks.

“I saw him for the first time at the 2011 World Championship finals against Magomedrasul Majidov. It was a great fight and after this fight I said he is going to be the Olympic champion in London,” Usyk told Sky Sports.


Britain’s current boxing world champions





1/7 Anthony Joshua

2/7 Callum Smith

3/7 Josh Warrington

4/7 Carl Frampton

5/7 Ryan Burnett

6/7 Khalid Yafai

7/7 Nicola Adams

1/7 Anthony Joshua

2/7 Callum Smith

3/7 Josh Warrington

4/7 Carl Frampton

5/7 Ryan Burnett

6/7 Khalid Yafai

7/7 Nicola Adams

“I watched all his fights in London at the Olympic Games and of course his professional fights as well. I am interested in him, I mean it is interesting to watch his fights.”

Usyk added that he greatly enjoyed the atmosphere at Wembley Stadium – although he did not see anything in Joshua’s performance to be particularly scared by.

“Yes I watched this fight and I really liked it,” Usyk added. “I like how Alexander was set up, it was intriguing, or it was Anthony Joshua’s plan – it wasn’t a successful plan at the beginning.

“I really liked the atmosphere at Wembley and I would like to box there too.”

When pressed on Joshua’s performance, Usyk said: “I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. The fighter is quite well trained, I do not see anything not ordinary.”

But the 31-year-old was keen to make the point that he is not looking beyond Bellew. The pair fight for all of the cruiserweight world titles in Manchester on November 10.

“Do you know I cannot tell you in advance before this fight happens,” Usyk said. “When promoters start negotiations between Usyk and Joshua, then I will get ready for that.

“If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans. Do you understand that my father raised me not to tell what hasn’t happened yet.”

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