Nigeria-British professional boxer Anthony Joshua could soon find out that former cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk has “enough power to absorb and withstand punches”, says Michael Hunter.
Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles will be at stake when he is challenged by Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next Saturday.
Usyk, an Olympic gold medallist like Joshua, inflicted Hunter’s only defeat on points before becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion.
“He is fleet-footed and defensive-minded,” Hunter told Sky Sports about Usyk.
“It will be very difficult to actually get a win over Usyk in a certain fashion.
“Joshua will have to have a concrete game-plan and follow it. It will be a very hard task.
“If he pulls it off? Give the man credit. Because this style of fighting, for him, is the most difficult.”
Hunter has been joined by Usyk at heavyweight and insists former cruiserweights still possess power: “Anybody at the 200lbs weight class is pretty much a heavyweight. We all hit hard.”
Hunter said about Usyk: “Even though he doesn’t focus on hitting hard, he has enough power to absorb and withstand punches.
“He is bulking up and he is taller than me, he has some length to him.
“He will do exceptionally well. He hasn’t taken any Ls and hasn’t been in any trouble since he’s been pro.
“A lot of people are saying he hasn’t performed to the best of his abilities. Against Joshua, he will have to.
“He has done it a few times before, like at the Olympics. He is a Grade-A boxer.
“Joshua is still learning on the job, going through experiences.
“There is an element of surprise because we don’t know what type of Joshua will come out.
“We know what type of Usyk will come out, we just don’t know at what level.”
As of June 2021, Joshua is ranked as the world’s second-best active heavyweight by The Ring, Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and BoxRec, as well as the seventh-best active boxer, pound for pound, by BoxRec
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