Carl Froch believes Oleksandr Usyk may have had a plan to lure Anthony Joshua into a false sense of confidence before taking his unified titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September of 2021.
Having beun undisputed at cruiserweight before moving up, the Ukrainian was due a title shot against ‘AJ’, and got one after just two fights in the division.
He stopped Chazz Witherspoon in October of 2019 before facing UK fan-favourite, Derek Chisora., a year later. It’s that fight with Chisora – which Usyk won by unanimous decision – that Froch believes was part of a larger gameplan.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Froch on Fighting, the former super middleweight champion said he was ringside to analyse Usyk’s chances at heavyweight.
“I’ve got a theory actually about the Chisora fight. I was there that night at ringside watching and learning [about] the guy, thinking is he big enough, is he good enough, is he strong enough? Okay, he’s not got that punch power, but he’s got an unbelievable skillset. So technically proficient, it’s amazing.”
And he believes that the Ukrainian – who is widely regarded as technically one of the best active fighters – kept his foot off the gas so that Joshua would take a fight with him.
“I think that night against Chisora, he just took his time. He was playing mind games with the opponents. He knew Anthony Joshua was watching that, and he was thinking to himself ‘if I show all my toolbox in this first heavyweight fight, I’m gonna scare him off.’
“So I think he never got out of second gear with Chisora. I’m not taking anything away from Chisora. He’ll go in there with anyone. He’s lost more than he’s won at world title level but he’ll give them a hard fight, and he certainly gave Usyk a hard fight.
But I think Usyk took his time, just used his jab, moved around, certainly didn’t get past third gear, got the comfortable win on points. I think AJ would’ve looked at that and thought ‘I can beat this guy, he’s struggling up at heavyweight.'”
Whether or not that was Usyk’s plan, he did go onto beat Joshua, and then again for good measure.
The unified champion is now moving slowly towards an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury, however negotiations have turned sour yet again this week.