AJ to be given a 'rough ride' by Usyk but will be 'too fast' and 'too sharp' for Ukrainian, says Johnny Nelson

ANTHONY JOSHUA will be in for a 'rough ride' in his Tottenham tussle with Oleksandr Usyk, Johnny Nelson reckons.

The Watford warrior will defend his unified heavyweight titles against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion next month.

Usyk's footwork and ability to glide in and out of range will be the two biggest problems Joshua will have to navigate.

But former cruiserweight king Nelson thinks the Ukrainian will ultimately come up short in his bid to become a two-weight world champion.

He told Sky Sports: "I've always been a massive fan of Anthony Joshua, it's never been hidden.

"I'm a fan of Oleksandr Uysk because at cruiserweight I said, 'This guy is the heir apparent. I could see him stepping up to heavyweight and making a massive impression like Evander Holyfield back in the day.'

"[But he's a] different style of fighter.

"But then I saw his introduction to the heavyweight division and I was underwhelmed. And he's a good fighter, excellent pedigree.

"Better pedigree than Anthony Joshua as an amateur at least. I think Anthony Joshua will be far too big, far too strong, far too sharp and far too aggressive.

"And Usyk's gotta depend on his unorthodox style to try and befuddle Anthony Joshua to get through that fight.

"It's not an easy fight. So if anybody tries to say this is a done deal, this is not a done deal. This is a tough fight for Anthony Joshua.

"So Anthony Joshua needs to make sure he has his white about him, does not underestimate this guy just because he's a small opponent.

"But he needs to stamp his authority as a big strong, fast, athletic heavyweight champion. In doing that, I expect him to get the win.

"But it's going to be a rough ride."

I think Anthony Joshua will be far too big, far too strong, far too sharp and far too aggressive.

Nelson, however, admits Usyk is more than capable of shocking the world and ending AJ's second reign as unified heavyweight king.

He added: "It could happen. It could happen with any heavyweight out there. Anthony is actually training down the road in Sheffield. He has been the past few weeks.

"And he's gone back to his roots. He's making sure he does everything right again. So I know he's taking this very serious.

"Because, of course, the Tyson Fury fight falls through for whatever bogus business that was going on there, if it's happening or if it's not happening.

"So he's kept his head down and got on with it and thought, 'Right, I'm fighting this guy who is a dangerous guy.'

"And if you know your boxing, you know Usyk is dangerous and he cannot afford to have a slip-up."

Joshua, 31, is relishing his upcoming clash with his fellow Olympian, saying: “We are two Olympic gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges.

"The stadium is exceptional, the atmosphere will be electric, I’m honoured to be the first person to fight in such an awe-inspiring venue.

“The stage is set and I am ready to handle business.”


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