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Joshua Says Usyk Bout Is “A Fight For The Brain”

As preparations for his next world title defence continue heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has spoken about the challenges that his next opponent Oleksandr Usyk will bring.

Joshua defends his WBO, IBF and WBA belts against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The Sky Box Office pay-per-view attraction is a fascinating contest which will see Joshua come up against something of a rubik’s cube which will present various challenges.

“I am sharpening the mind so that I can concentrate for the 12 rounds,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s a fight for the brain. Knowing what you’ve got in front of you and knowing how to deal with it.

“You can either be aggressive, corner [him], throw everything at it. Or take your time, be clever, then knock [him] out.”

Many expect Joshua’s size and power to be too much for the Ukrainian southpaw who is the mandatory challenger for the Brit’s WBO title. Usyk has yet to have any real significant success at heavyweight with victory over Dereck Chisora last October being his biggest win since he moved up in weight two years ago.

“I do look at my weight but I’m not trying to make weight because I’m a heavyweight,” Joshua said.

“I’ve learned how to condition my body for specific fights. I’m fighting a guy who is a 12-round fighter. So, it would be silly of me to go in there bulky with my muscles screaming for oxygen.

“I’ve been training like a 15-round fighter in this camp. I will be well-conditioned to fight. That is key.”

Joshua also spoke of how he is adapting to facing the southpaw challenge by bringing in the right type of sparring partners for his 11th world title fight. Those include Irish talent Thomas Carty and Afghan born German based cruiserweight Shokran Parwani.

“It is a process that I am going through,” he said.

“Adversity is when you find out who you are. So, I put myself in vulnerable positions and get comfortable.

“Guys with more power than me, quicker than me, a longer reach than me, a quicker jab than me. Through the process, I develop as well.”

Main image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing