Tyson Fury fears Anthony Joshua is headed for a points defeat unless he can land a knockout blow early on in his eagerly anticipated heavyweight showdown against Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua is set to end an 18-month’s worth of competitive inactivity on Saturday night when he locks horns with the former cruiserweight king at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The former Olympic champions’ extra weight and punching power has rendered him a strong favourite with the bookmakers’, but Fury envisages it being a much more even contest.
“I expect AJ to come out trying to box a bit more because of this new way he boxes now and uses his jab,’ Fury said.
‘And he knows he doesn’t have the stamina to take a fight to somebody under sustained pressure, and keep that up, because he gasses after about three rounds. And then he needs to take three or four rounds off.
‘So, he wouldn’t be able to do that against Usyk because Usyk will be on him all the time, making him fight. So, I expect it to be awkward, maybe a bit of a chess match for a few rounds. And I expect AJ to run out of ideas, really.
‘If he doesn’t land on him early and get him out of there with big punches, then I see it being a tough night for AJ and maybe even a stoppage loss.
‘I’m not a betting man, so I don’t really bet. But, you know, I think it’s a real pick ‘em fight. Whoever you’d like to pick on the night maybe would win, but you know, I can make a lot of reasons why AJ would lose this fight and Usyk would win.
‘One is he’s a big southpaw and he’s awkward and, you know, a slick boxer. I think he punches harder than people give him credit for. But it’s not how hard you punch – you’ve just gotta keep hitting that target and, sooner or later, the big bodybuilder will fall apart at the seams, like an old, cheap cushion, falling to bits, all the bits falling off it. And he runs out of ideas quite quickly as well, Joshua. He’s a one-trick pony.’
Fury, meanwhile, returns to the ring in a fortnight’s time in his eagerly anticipated trilogy fight against Deontay Wilder. Joshua has already predicted the American will gain revenge for the devastating defeat he suffered in their previous meeting, but the Gypsy King has laughed off the suggestion he will get knocked out by the Bronze Bomber.
He added: ‘You know, I really don’t make much of it. These guys are my rivals, so I expect them to want to beat me, of course. I’m a one-man army. They all wanna beat me. I’m the only undefeated champion left. So, it’s like, ‘Oh, gang up on me, and let’s try and get him to lose as well, like we all are.’
‘So, you know, I think he’s got more on his plate, though, than thinking about what I’m gonna do in my fight. He’s got to win his own fight and we’ll see what happens with his fight on Saturday, because I’m not convinced that he is gonna win, either.’
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