Ahead of Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, his promoter Alexander Krassyuk has given the lowdown on how camp preparations are coming along, what it’s like returning to London and why he thinks his fighter will have his arm raised on Saturday night.
“[We’ve] exceeded expectations. All the plans were completed, all the tasks were done, everything went according to the plan,” Krassyuk told the Betfred Boxing Show.
“Sparrings went well, all the conditioning went well and if you take a look at Usyk, you can just realise that yourself.
“[it’s the] same routine as always - he keeps in shape, he stays focused, he stays concentrated, he’ll do what his trainer tells him to do, so a couple of trainings per day, proper food, good sleep, he’s eating, praying - all the routine.”
Former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk has fought in the UK twice before, beating Tony Bellew at the Manchester Arena in 2018 and then Dereck Chisora at Wembley Arena at the tailend of 2020, and Krassyuk says the 34-year-old is relishing his return to these shores.
“Wow, he feels excited about that. First of all, he’s fighting in London - a city that he loves. The public gives all their energy, no matter who they are cheering for. They give you all the energy, and staying in the ring and performing your best, it’s the most exciting thing for a fighter.
“Usyk was very lucky in London, was very lucky in the United Kingdom and we all think he will be lucky this time as well.”
Two-time world champion Joshua had been in line to face fellow Brit Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship, something that would have been one of the biggest boxing matches in recent memory, but that was put to a halt, for now at least, while the Gypsy King takes care of some unfinished business with Deontay Wilder.
We might not have got the fight we’d all hoped for this year but the showdown with fellow Olympic gold medallist Usyk, as Krassyuk explains, is a more than fitting substitute
“It doesn’t happen too often, when two Olympic champions fight in the ring in the heavyweights for the unification. This is the fight of the year because this is the most highly anticipated fight.
“Two completely different styles that are going to collide in the ring and sometimes we hear that the styles make the fight. And when a fighter like AJ, an elite fighter, the biggest star, the guy who has probably the most prominent CV of all the heavyweights, fighting another guy who has a prominent CV at cruiserweight - that might be something special. When we see fights like that, we cannot compare them with anything in the past. These fights make the history.”
Although Krassyuk believes AJ is far and away Usyk’s toughest test in the ring since turning pro in 2013, he’s confident his man will head home to Ukraine with Joshua’s IBF, WBA and WBO belts.
“Let me tell you my vision, how I see it. The ring, the referee at the centre, Oleksandr Usyk on his right, Anthony Joshua on his left, then Michael Buffer goes with the result and the referee raises Usyk’s hand. That’s the strategy.”