Carl Froch believes Oleksandr Usyk showed us what he wanted us to see before his first fight with Anthony Joshua.
The former IBF super-middleweight champion has said that the Ukrainian lured Britain’s golden boy ‘AJ’ into the fight by taking it easy on Derek Chisora.
Usyk, 35, moved up to heavyweight after a sensational stint at cruiserweight, where he cleaned up the division and became the undisputed king by picking up every available title.
He beat Chazz Witherspoon in his first heavyweight fight in 2019, before moving on to Chisora in 2020, who he beat via unanimous decision.
And Froch told the BBC, in his latest column, that he did so deliberately, in order to goad Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) into taking the fight with him for the unified WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO titles.
“Usyk played with Derek Chisora when they fought at heavyweight – just took his time. He’s that clever I think he made that contest look close on purpose to get the AJ fight.”
Froch, who sold out Wembley Stadium in a showdown against George Groves back in May 2014, went on to praise Usyk:
“We know what a talented fighter Usyk is, just look at his pedigree. He lost a handful of fights as an amateur in more than 300 bouts.”
“He became Olympic champion, turned professional and became the undisputed unified cruiserweight champion in a division that was really tough at the time. He just dominated.”
Usyk dethroned Joshua of the aforementioned titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, outpointing him unanimously.
And Froch believes that – 11 months on and with the added incentive of Tyson Fury’s recently-relinquished Ring Magazine title also being at stake on Saturday at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia – a defeat for Joshua could well spell the end of his career.
The 45-year-old, who was coached as a pro by Joshua’s long-time mentor Robert McCracken, continued:
“If Anthony Joshua loses his rematch to Oleksandr Usyk and it’s a bad defeat – a conclusive points loss or a heavy knockout – it could be the end for ‘AJ’.”
“I just don’t see where he can go after back-to-back defeats.”
Streaming platform DAZN, to whom Joshua committed his broadcasting future back in June in a ground-breaking deal, will show the fight in the US, as well as more than 190 territories, including Canada, Spain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Poland, while Sky Sports Box Office will broadcast the fight in the UK & Ireland after paying £23million to do so.
‘The Cobra’ finished by giving his fight prediction:
“I wholeheartedly want him to win and I am not totally writing him off. He has all the physical attributes, he’s big enough and strong enough, but I have to be brutally honest and say I don’t think he will win.”