Tony Bellew believes Anthony Joshua will never fight a more accomplished boxer than Oleksandr Usyk in his career – and that includes rival heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
“This is the best boxer he will ever face,” former WBC cruiserweight champion Bellew told TalkSport. “Different opponents bring different things to the table. Usyk brings a whole load of experience, a whole load of power, a whole load of negative tactics that are very hard to combat against.
“Oleksandr Usyk, as a pure natural boxer, is the best boxer AJ will face and I include Tyson Fury.”
Bellew knows full well the scale of the task ahead for WBA Super, WBO and IBF title holder Joshua, having been stopped in eight rounds by the Ukrainian maestro in their cruiserweight clash in November 2018. Undisputed 200lbs champ Usyk subsequently moved up in weight and set his sights on scaling the heavyweight mountain.
“As a natural boxer and his technical ability, no one is anywhere near as good a boxer as him in the heavyweight division. He’s in a league of his own,” continued Bellew. “For Oleksandr Usyk, he’s just phenomenally good. His judgement of distance, shot selection, offence, defence is brilliant.
“He knows how to manage a fight and judge a fight. He is just exceptional at what he does. All this has been proven at cruiserweight, none of this has been proven at heavyweight.”
Bellew still favours Joshua to triumph at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night, lauding AJ’s athleticism and all-round prowess at the higher weight.
“Physically, I think he’s the best heavyweight ever. I think he’s that far ahead of people when it comes to speed,” claimed Bellew. “When you put the complete package in athletically, he’s the most gifted heavyweight athletically I’ve seen in my lifetime.
“That’s the thing with AJ, and why I said he will beat Fury, he’s athletically gifted enough to not only close the gap but also to stay there. No matter how fast you are, he can stay on top of you and these are the great attributes he has being such a great athlete he is.
“He’s got a fantastic jab, as we’ve already seen in the Andy Ruiz Jr rematch and in the Joseph Parker fight. He’s able to dictate the range with his jab himself. The jab as a weapon is rarely used against a southpaw. If he uses it the way he was using it in his last sparring session last week, it is going to be a problem for Oleksandr Usyk.”