Anthony Joshua backed to KO Oleksandr Usyk in three rounds by sparring partner as power will be 'too much' for southpaw

ANTHONY JOSHUA has been backed by a sparring partner to knock out Oleksandr Usyk in three rounds – as his power will be 'too much'.

Joshua is set to face the former cruiserweight king in September having been ordered by the WBO to do so.

Usyk, who won gold at the same 2012 Olympics as AJ, moved up to heavyweight in 2019, becoming mandatory challenger in doing so.

His last at cruiserweight was in 2018 against Tony Bellew, in a performance AJ's sparring partner Emanuel Odiase believes showed weaknesses.

Odiase told SunSport: "With Joshua I think his amateur and Olympic background helps him a lot.

"He fought all kinds of styles in the amateurs, southpaws, orthodox, Russian style, Cuban style, that helps him and I feel like Usyk still isn't a full grown heavyweight.

"You saw Usyk fight Tony Bellew, the first couple of rounds Usyk struggled with Tony Bellew, who is naturally a cruiserweight.

"If Anthony Joshua can capitalise on that in the first couple of rounds when Usyk is getting into his flow, then he can knock him out.

"I would say it's a knockout in three rounds or so for AJ, because if Usyk gets in his flow, he's hard to beat.

"When he gets his distance and everything right, he's hard to beat, but I feel like the power of AJ will be too much for Usyk."


German amateur Odiase, who was a hopeful for the 2024 Olympics before setting his sights on the pros, was called into Joshua's last training camp.

He was used a sparring partner to replicate Kubrat Pulev, 40, who AJ later knocked out in nine rounds.

Joshua believed it set him up with an undisputed title decider with Tyson Fury who tried to walk away from his contracted rematch with Deontay Wilder.

But Wilder, 35, was awarded the right to a third fight with Fury, 32, set for July 24 in Las Vegas.

It left Joshua, 31, left out in the cold and forced to face Usyk, 34, having been ordered by the WBO to do so.

With AJ shifting his camp to prepare for the slick southpaw, it means stylistically Odiase will not be needed in sparring.

But the prospect – guided by Wladimir Klitschko's ex-manager Bernd Boente – is still armed with the experience he gained from rubbing shoulders with Joshua in his Sheffield HQ last year.

Odiase revealed: "With Joshua I learned it's so important to keep the same people around with you that you had from the start.

"He has his guys around him that he started his career with, his cousin Ben Ileyemi is always taking care of everything security-wise.

"He's always with Joshua and he helps keep him grounded and humble. Joshua says 'Stay Humble' but he really is."

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