Joe Joyce warns Anthony Joshua that Oleksandr Usyk can take a big punch even though AJ finds ‘killer instinct’ with new coach Robert Garcia


Anthony Joshua has his work cut out against Oleksandr Usyk in the rematch as even his insane power may not be enough.

Last September, Joshua was masterfully knocked out by his Ukrainian rival, who won the WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles by unanimous decision.

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Usyk dominated Joshua in the first fight, showing his excellent footwork and movement

The pair came face to face again at the press conference for Tuesday's rematch

Saudi Ministry of Sports

The pair came face to face again at the press conference for Tuesday’s rematch

In the aftermath, Joshua was widely criticized for his game plan of engaging in a boxing chess match with one of the most technically gifted boxers in the world.

When the duo meet in Saudi Arabia on August 20, Joshua and his new trainer Robert Garcia insisted he would change his tactics from the first fight and use his size advantages to push for a knockout this time around.

Asked what he’s trying to do with the heavyweight, Garcia said: “Bring back the will to go out and hurt people. The need to come back and go in there without… I don’t mean ‘fear’, but… More self-confidence.

“He has to have that mentality, the killer instinct. It sounds bad to say it, but in the ring you want to hurt your opponent.

According to Joe Joyce, however, who has in-ring experience of facing a heavyweight version of Usyk in 2013 at the amateur World Series of Boxing, it could be a fruitless task.

“It’s hard to put a glove on him first and foremost,” Joyce told talkSPORT. “Because he moves his feet, he moves his head.


Joyce and Usyk faced off in the amateurs and the Ukrainian emerged victorious

Getty Images – Getty

Joyce and Usyk faced off in the amateurs and the Ukrainian emerged victorious

“He is very calculated with his movements, when he is going to engage or not to engage and he drops the counters.

“So it’s hard to pin him down, but he’s been hit before and he seems to be taking it well.

“First of all, just hit him because with Gassiev back in heavyweight he has phenomenal power but he couldn’t put a glove on him.”

Joshua himself, however, isn’t intimidated by the task at hand, as he described himself as the ‘comeback king’ during the press conference earlier this week.

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