Oleksandr Usyk is a “serious threat” to Anthony Joshua and will punch hard enough to “do damage” to Britain’s unified champion, says trainer Peter Fury.
The Ukrainian star is set to be confirmed as the next challenger for Joshua, who is expected to defend his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.
Usyk has stepped up a division, having unified all the world cruiserweight titles, and has been packing on more size and strength since his points win over Derek Chisora in October.
“He’s [Usyk] very dangerous,” said Peter Fury, who guided Tyson Fury to a world heavyweight title triumph in 2015.
“It’s not a walk in the park. Forget cruiserweight. This guy, he’s had a couple of fights in the heavyweight division, he’s adjusted, he’s put the necessary weight on.
“He’s a serious heavyweight and a serious talent, so it will be a good fight.”
Both fighters excelled at the highest level in the amateur ranks as Joshua claimed super-heavyweight gold at the London 2012 Games, while Usyk was the heavyweight champion at the same Olympics.
Fury believes Usyk’s razor-sharp counter punches, along with an elusive southpaw style, will pose problems for Joshua.
“Yes, of course he has [enough power to gain Joshua’s respect],” he told Sky Sports.
“He’s an accurate puncher and anybody in the fight trade knows when you’re in that body weight bracket, when you’re punching correctly, any punchers can do damage.
“Yes, he belongs in the division and he’s a serious threat. It’s a serious fight. Full credit to Joshua for taking that fight.
“I think it will ultimately be a battle of skills, because you can’t run into danger. It’s a fight that I’m looking forward to see. It’s a great fight, a good match-up.”
Usyk back with mastermind trainer
Anatoly Lomachenko, father of pound-for-pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko, will be overseeing Usyk’s preparations for Joshua.
The return of Usyk’s old amateur coach was confirmed by promoter Bob Arum last month.
Arum told Sky Sports: “Egis Klimas, who is the manager of both [Usyk and Lomachenko], I talk with him and he has talked with the father of Lomachenko, who he calls ‘Papa Lomachenko’ who was the trainer of all these Ukrainian Olympians and he’s agreed to properly train Usyk for this fight.
“I’m telling you, ‘Don’t think that Joshua is in a cake walk. He has a really tough fight with Usyk, who is a terrific boxer.’
“His father wouldn’t train anyone else, but he will train Usyk, because Usyk is like family.”
Lomachenko has given his backing to Usyk, telling Sky Sports: “Of course I believe he can win.
“He has a very big chance but it won’t be easy because Joshua also knows what he must do in the ring.
“Joshua also knows boxing, he has also had amateur experience.
Asked about Joshua’s considerably bigger and heavier frame, he replied: “But Oleksandr is much faster.
“It will be a fight between styles.”
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