Heavyweight title contender, Joe Joyce, has offered an explanation as to why Oleksandr Usyk may have opted for a leaner build, ahead of his proposed undisputed title fight against Tyson Fury.
The discussion comes after Usyk released photos showing his latest physique, where The Ukrainian seemed extremely slim for a heavyweight.
‘The Juggernaut’ had a stellar 2022, where he truly emerged as a world title candidate with a destructive win over, former world champion, Joseph Parker. At 37-years-old, Joyce entered the professional ranks late but has heaps of amateur experience and now notable wins over Parker and Daniel Dubois.
As the WBO mandatory challenger, a maiden world title fight is on the horizon for Joyce, whether that be against either Fury or Usyk, or for the vacant belt if the new champion decides to relinquish.
In an interview with Queensberry Promotions, Joyce thinks Usyk might be purposefully keeping a small build ahead of his fight with Fury and that he may be sacrificing power for speed.
“He looked trim, yeah. That’s good. He looks healthy and strong … swimming and stuff, so his cardio is probably good.”
“Maybe [he wants to be smaller] for the speed. He was putting on size to maybe get more power but then I don’t know if the power was effective, so he might as well just be fast.”
Joyce is one of the few heavyweights to have faced Usyk, losing to him in the amateurs in 2013.
The Brit has since revealed that Usyk’s punches were more like a slap and felt only like a stinging power rather than ‘thudding’.
An official announcement for the undisputed fight seems only a matter of time. Meanwhile, Joyce looks set to fight Zhilei Zhang in April, who controversially lost to IBF mandatory challenger, Filip Hrgovic, last year.