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Oleksandr Usyk’s very simple message to Anthony Joshua after landing in London

Usyk only had four words to say as he arrived in London for his world heavyweight title showdown with Joshua this weekend, but the message was loud and clear

Boxing: AJ gears up for defence against Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk’s message to Anthony Joshua was very simple as he arrived in London today: “Anthony, hello, I’m here!”

The Ukrainian fighter is looking to add the unified heavyweight titles to his vast array of belts from his time at cruiserweight, but will need to beat Joshua in his home country to do it.

But as he arrived in London today, he looked confident and ready to cause a big upset on Saturday night.

He didn’t have much to say as reporters quizzed him, but it was enough to get his point across, particularly given that the pair have not been able to engage in a traditional pre-fight press conference or media tour due to coronavirus restrictions.

Usyk is something of an enigmatic figure outside of the ring, and one of the most skillful in it, particularly during his days as undisputed champion at cruiserweight.



Oleksandr Usyk arrived in London today
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Image:

Matchroom Boxing)




And Joshua understands that he is one of the best out there, ranking him as the second toughest opponent “on paper” of his career behind Wladimir Klitschko.

That would put Usyk ahead of Andy Ruiz, who managed to stop Joshua in June 2019 before bringing him the distance in their December rematch.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Joshua said of Usyk: “On paper he sits No.2, behind Wladimir Klitschko.

“They’re very different technically, but on paper he’s an Olympic gold medalist, he reigned for over 10 years, he’s No.1.

“But Usyk is No.2 because of his success at cruiserweight and then his success so far at heavyweight.”

Can Oleksandr Usyk get the upset and beat Anthony Joshua on Saturday night?

Despite the fact that many experts and fans believe that Usyk hasn’t made the transition to heavyweight successfully, Joshua has been training like a madman for the bout.

It’s his second fight since the coronavirus pandemic began, having beaten Kubrat Pulev in December last year at the SSE Arena Wembley.

And he says that he has in some ways preferred the ability to hone in on his training during coronavirus restrictions.

“I’ve been training on the edge,” he told the Daily Mai l. “Exposing myself to being hit by southpaw partners because of only using my left hand.

“That’s hard. That hurts. But the basic necessities of living in the pandemic were perfect for me. I like the basics of life. I don’t need a lot to make me happy.









“More importantly, this has helped me realise that putting yourself in vulnerable situations brings the best out of you.

“Not being allowed to impose my size and power in those sessions taught me not only the power of deep practice but also the power of the brain.

“Our brain is like plastic. It is always changing and you can use that to change and improve yourself. To find out more about who you are.”

Joshua and Usyk will fight in front of over 63,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Saturday; the biggest boxing show in the UK since the start of the pandemic.




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