Anthony Joshua Discusses “Aggressive” Plan for Oleksandr Usyk

Published 09/21/2021, 9:00 AM EDT
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Anthony Joshua in action during a training session during the Anthony Joshua Media Day at the English Institute of Sport on May 01, 2019 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


Anthony Joshua cannot afford to lose his upcoming scrap against Oleksandr Usyk, or it will end his hopes for a four-belt unification clash against Tyson Fury in the future. Besides, Usyk, a former cruiserweight, falls short before Joshua’s gigantic heavyweight physical frame. All these factors turn the upcoming fight on September 25 into a ‘must-win’ occasion for ‘AJ’.

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Hence, Joshua might unleash his violent side against his Ukrainian opposition. While the boxing world is aware of Usyk’s southpaw stance and high-level technical skills, Joshua believes that a boxer’s aggressive nature is his key to success.

During a game of chess with Adam Smith of Sky Sports, the three-belt unified heavyweight champion shared his views on several aspects surrounding the boxing world. He also revealed a part of his game plan for Oleksandr Usyk.

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‘AJ’ said, “I will be honest with you. In my opinion, a good boxer is a good boxer. But you have to be aggressive. So, I believe it’s fine to be a good boxer. But you also have to be very aggressive.”

Oleksandr Usyk is undoubtedly one of the best boxers of the time. The former Olympic gold medalist has been flawless, with a record of 18-0 and an undisputed championship in the cruiserweight division as a professional pugilist. However, all these features may not be enough to outwork a knockout artist in Anthony Joshua.

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In a heavyweight clash against Derek Chisora, Usyk struggled and looked bleak on several occasions. Hence, Anthony Joshua can offer him an even bigger challenge. If that’s not enough, sparring partner Martin Bakole has recently revealed some insights from Usyk’s camp that may not go well for the Ukrainian’s loyalists.

Is Oleksandr Usyk ready for Anthony Joshua?

Despite the stats and comparison, power remains one of the most important aspects of heavyweight boxing. However, Martin Bakole didn’t seem impressed with Usyk’s prowess. Having sparred with Joshua in the past, Bakole claimed that Usyk couldn’t hurt him.

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In a chat with IFL TV, Bakole, who is Usyk’s current sparring partner, said,  “[Usyk] is a top guy, and he’s got good skills. He has a top record and everyone knows he’s the best. But at heavyweight, one punch can change your stuff”

“He’s good. I sparred him for two weeks, and I don’t know if it’s the way that he prepared for it, but he never hit me with a punch that hurt me.”

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Watch This Story: 7 Things Anthony Joshua Can’t Live Without

A 12-round heavyweight collision will clearly demand the display of power at some point across the 36 minutes. Moreover, as he is going up against Anthony Joshua, Usyk will come across massive blows. Hence, his ability to dish out punishment while dodging and absorbing blows shall reveal whether he is ready for ‘AJ’.

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Raj Sarkar

2553 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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