Anthony Joshua ‘knows Oleksandr Usyk is a real threat to him’ as the Ukrainian prepares to ‘gradually destroy’ Derek Chisora

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Oleksandr Usyk is ‘already in Anthony Joshua’s head’, according to the Ukrainian’s co-promoter Alexander Krassyuk.

The former undisputed cruiserweight champion wants to repeat his exploits from the 200lbs division at heavyweight and is eyeing up Joshua’s collection of belts.

Anthony Joshua will face Kubrat Pulev next, but Oleksandr Usyk lies in wait

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Anthony Joshua will face Kubrat Pulev next, but Oleksandr Usyk lies in wait

As the former holder of the WBO belt at 14st 4lbs, Usyk plans to utilise his mandatory status to challenge Joshua for his heavyweight belts in 2021.

However, the 33-year-old must first get past the challenge presented by a rejuvenated Derek Chisora on Saturday night.

“Usyk is already in AJ’s head,” Krassyuk, who works alongside promoter Eddie Hearn, told Sky Sports.

“Their fight will happen anyway; this is just a matter of time.

“There is no difference how big Usyk’s win is – AJ knows that this guy is a real threat for him.”

Oleksandr Usyk is packing on serious muscle before he fights Derek Chisora

@usykaa (Instagram)

Oleksandr Usyk is packing on serious muscle before he fights Derek Chisora

Overlooking Chisora is a dangerous mistake to make, with the British heavyweight never better than when the odds are against him and his back is against the wall.

After being battered for a solid seven rounds by Carlos Takam in 2018, the 36-year-old unleashed two devastating right hands to secure a knockout win which has breathed new life into his career.

Although time may not be on his side to launch a final run at the heavyweight titles, Chisora will have size and power on his side when he comes up against the former cruiserweight king.

But Krassyuk warned the Brit he will find himself getting taken out if he makes one mistake against a fighter who features prominently in the top five pound-for-pound list of large swathes of boxing experts.

Derek Chisora stopped Artur Szpilka and David Price last year

Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Derek Chisora stopped Artur Szpilka and David Price last year

“The KO does not depend much on Usyk but on Chisora,” said Krassyuk.

“If Derek is in good shape and condition, if he will be ready to be moving for the whole distance, if his stamina will be sufficient to stay focused without losing concentration, then a KO is not likely to happen.

“But once Derek decides to [take a risk] he will be immediately floored.

“I expect that Usyk’s plan will be very similar to his previous bouts.

Carl Froch says Derek Chisora doesn’t belong with elite heavyweights and Usyk needs to put on a real performance

“He will start slow using his jab to learn his opponent’s intentions. In two or three rounds Usyk will add some artillery and will start to gradually destroy Chisora.

“Usyk’s mindset is to prove his affiliation to heavyweights. He has finished sparring and patiently waits for the day of the fight.”

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Boxing – talkSPORT

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