Ismael Salas, trainer of heavyweight sensation Joe Joyce, believes he has seen something in Oleksandr Usyk that can lead his man to victory should they ever fight.
Joyce is flying high in the division following his stoppage victory over the notoriously tough Joseph Parker. With that win, he was crowned WBO Interim Champion, taking him one step closer to fighting for a heavyweight title that currently belongs to Usyk.
Salas, who is well-respected in the sport, has clearly been working on a game plan already. Speaking to Boxing Scene, the Cuban trainer believes that body work and pressure, as well as his man’s specific set of skills, can topple the undefeated Ukrainian.
“I saw Usyk-Joshua, the rematch. In the rematch, Joshua started to work the body shots and then we saw Usyk [look a bit shaky]. With Joe Joyce, it’s a different story. Joe Joyce, one, always [smothers] his opponents with pressure. So to handle Joe Joyce’s pressure through the 12 rounds is not easy.”
“Of course, he has an amazing chin too. It’s God’s gift. Big heart, big determination. And the biggest pressure fighter you can find in the heavyweight division.”
The fact that Usyk bested Joyce in the amateurs is of no concern to Salas.
“It’s another thing [amateurs versus professional.] Joe Joyce has more fundamentals now, he is more flexible. Because everybody knows Joe Joyce is a very robotic, strong guy. What we did is to work with many fundamentals, coordination, and keeping on top of everyone.”
Whilst Joyce is technically next in line for a shot at Usyk’s WBO title, the Ukrainian has more pressing things to worry about. It’s unclear how much Joyce’s promoter, Frank Warren, will push for a fight with Usyk considering another of his heavyweights in Tyson Fury is looking for an undisputed fight.
Whatever happens in the next three or four months, Usyk versus Joyce is certainly a fight fans will want to see.