Boxing Fight: “You have two options: be aggressive, corner [him], and throw everything at him. Anthony Joshua, who will face Oleksandr Usyk on September 25, says, “Take your time, be intelligent, then knock [him] out.”
When faced with Oleksandr Usyk’s distinctive movement, Anthony Joshua is “sharpening the mind” to prevent being “mentally fatiguing.”
On September 25, Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, and WBO heavyweight titles against Usyk, Box Office from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Joshua told Sky Sports exclusively why Usyk’s footwork makes him the most difficult opponent he’s ever faced: “100%, he will be.” You are never stationary to be hit if you move. It is critical to move around.
“Concentration – you lock in before making a move when you want to [punch]. You must ensure that your brain functions properly.
“That can be psychologically taxing, so I’m working on sharpening my mind so I can focus for the full 12 rounds.
“I also work on being able to [punch] four times rather than just once.
“It’s a battle for the mind. Knowing what you’re up against and how to cope with it is essential.
“You have the option of being aggressive, cornering [him], and throwing everything at him. Alternatively, take your time, be astute, and then knock [him] out.”
Usyk, the undefeated former undisputed cruiserweight champion, is moving up to heavyweight in a quest to become only the third boxer in history to hold titles in both classes.
Joshua will enter the ring with far more weight (during their last weigh-ins, Joshua was about two stones heavier than Usyk), but he is working to reduce his own girth to match Usyk’s nimbleness.
“I look at my weight,” he admitted, “but I’m not trying to lose weight because I’m a heavyweight.”
“I personalise my training. I’m gaining a lot of experience; I’ve been facing good opponents for a long time and have studied their training camps.
“I’ve figured out how to prepare my body for various battles.
“For this battle, I’m trying to stay in shape.
“I’m going up against a 12-round fighter. So it would be foolish of me to enter there overweight, my muscles wailing for oxygen.
“In this camp, I’ve been training like a 15-round boxer. I’ll be well-prepared for a boxing fight. That is crucial.
“What happens if I train in this manner? My body adjusts and returns to its normal state. This is how it has manifested.”
To mimic Usyk’s southpaw stance, Joshua has had to seek sparring partners such as Irish prospect Thomas Carty and Germany-based Shokran Parwani.
“I want good sparring, tough sparring,” Joshua explained, “because you practise how you perform.”
“We have some excellent sparring partners. You don’t want to leave all of your belongings at the gym. However, you will learn if you work out with a goal in mind.
“When you face adversity, you discover who you are. As a result, I put myself in vulnerable situations and get used to them.
“Guys who have more power, are faster than me, have a longer reach than me, and can jab faster than me. I grow as a person as a result of the process.
“Adapting to being a southpaw is a process I’m going through.”
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