Two division world champion turned boxing analyst Andre Ward has voiced his opinions on the Usyk-Joshua rematch next month.
Andre Ward is viewed as one of the greatest boxing talents of his generation, with the American ruling at both Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight.
Ward shot to stardom in the Super Six World Boxing tournament in 2009, where he beat Mikkel Kessler in the group stage to win the WBA Super Middleweight title. In 2011, Ward put on a boxing masterclass to win the WBC title against Carl Froch in the tournament final.
Speaking on ‘Max on Boxing’ with host Max Kellerman, Ward spoke about the shootout in Saudi Arabia next month.
When asked if the rematch plays out any different to the first encounter, the boxing hall-of-famer replied:
“This is tough, I feel like Anthony Joshua is always this moving target, you know psychologically where is he at? Stylistically where is he at? Is he is he putting on more muscle mass, taking muscle off?
“All these variables sort of answer that question and we don’t have that answer.”
The former world champion isn’t convinced that Joshua and new trainer Robert Garcia have the same mindset:
“Add in another variable with Robert Garcia who is a great trainer, great stable of fighters, I don’t think that needs to be said – and was a great fighter in his time.
“But I’m not sure that the mindset that Robert Garcia employs with his fighters that I’ve seen and the styles mix.”
When asked what advice he would give Joshua, Ward replied;
“Man I’ve been trying to tell Anthony Joshua for the past six or seven years – get the mass off, then you’ll feel faster, you’ll want to throw more punches and you won’t hit that wall midway in the fight where that blood fills up in your muscles and you can’t get the shots off”
He continued detailing what Joshua needs to do in preparation for the rematch:
“Train him like he’s been training, tweak one or two things offensively one or two things defensively but constantly keep working this man’s mind.
“Remind him of who he is, that he’s the heavyweight champion, even though he lost and that you need to go get your belt back.
“There’s no way this smaller fighter is supposed to be able to deal with you.”
Joshua was outpointed by the Ukrainian in London last September, losing the WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. He goes to Jeddah next month looking to become a three-time Heavyweight champion.