Oleksandr Usyk insists that the threat posed by Anthony Joshua during their first fight wasn’t enough to cause him a problem.
The unified heavyweight champion of the world is in Saudi Arabia ahead of Saturday’s rematch against the Brit.
Usyk outpointed ‘AJ’ unanimously at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, taking the 32-year-old’s WBA Super, IBF, IBO and WBO titles in the process.
And as Joshua prepares his bid to become a three-time global ruler in a rematch against his fellow Olympic champion at the Jeddah Superdome, the Ukrainian has stated that the first fight between the pair was relatively routine.
In the build up to the rematch this weekend, Usyk’s post-fight interview from their first encounter has resurfaced – and the Ukrainian made it clear that the first fight went according to plan:
“The fight went exactly as I expected it to go.
“There were a few moments [in the first fight] when Anthony pushed me hard, but nothing special.”
The three scoring judges in the first fight between the pair handed in tallies of 117-112, 115-113 and 116-112 in favour of Usyk, who warmed up for Joshua with wins against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora in the sport’s premier division.
Usyk, 35, who cleaned up in the cruiserweight division before moving up to heavyweight, claiming every belt in the 200-pound weight class and gaining the tag of undisputed champion, went on to reveal why the final bell was able to sound:
“I had no objective to knock him out because my trainers, my corner, pushed me not to do that.
“At the beginning, I hit him hard and tried to knock him out but my corner told me to just stop and do my job.”