Chris Eubank Jr believes Anthony Joshua needs to make a number of changes ahead of his ring return on Saturday.
The heavyweight takes on Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch for the WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO world titles at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia.
Joshua was dethroned by the Ukrainian last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, losing for the second time as a pro, and defeat in the desert is not an option for the Brit as he looks to become a three-time unified world champion and add the recently-relinquished Ring Magazine belt, previously held by WBC champion Tyson Fury, to his collection.
But Eubank Jr. reckons the wholesale changes are needed on the part of ‘AJ’, who will go into the fight under the tutelage of new coach Robert Garcia, and says that Usyk needs to rinse and repeat the game plan of the first fight 11 months ago.
In an interview with talkSPORT, Eubank Jr. said:
“For Usyk, I think it’s a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
“He’s come in at the same weight, I don’t think he needs to change anything. Everything has to be changed Anthony.”
Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) weighed in 23lbs heavier than the champion (19-0, 13 KOs), who is a former undisputed king at cruiserweight, at the weigh-in on Friday, coming in at just over 17st 6lbs, while Usyk surprised everyone and came in close to the same weight as the first fight at 15st 11lbs.
Eubank Jr. has a big fight of his own coming up soon as he faces Conor Benn in a catchweight clash on October 8 at the O2 Arena in London, renewing the rivalry between the families nearly 30 years after their fathers, Chris Sr. and Nigel, fought their last of two fights in the 1990s.
”Him [Joshua] versus Dillian Whyte, that’s the type of energy, the type of firepower, the type of recklessness even that he needs to come into this fight with.
[Joshua] has to go in there with a different mindset, a different game plan, a different strategy and learn from his mistakes.
I think he can do that. He has shown that he can adapt and improve after a loss with Ruiz. He did that and I can’t see any reason why he can’t do that against Usyk. He’s got the physical attributes all in his favour – he’s bigger, stronger, heavier, more powerful and there’s no reason why he can’t win.”
Joshua returns to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia three years after his last visit there. Having lost his unified heavyweight titles in a seismic shock defeat at the hands of California-based Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr. at Madison Square Garden in New York back in June 2019, being stopped inside seven rounds, the former Olympic champion boxed his way to regaining the belts six months later in Diriyah and he will be hoping that his luck will continue in the location of his last rematch win.
Read Boxing Social’s top 10 Usyk-Joshua 2 fight predictions now.