Oleksandr Usyk promoter: ‘Oleksandr is a natural heavyweight now’

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Many believe Anthony Joshua’s size advantage over Oleksandr Usyk will be too much for the Ukrainian to overcome next Saturday in London.

After all, Joshua, 6-foot-6 and 240-plus pounds, is a massive heavyweight while Usyk moved up from cruiserweight – 200-pound limit — less than two years ago. The 6-3 Usyk weighed only 217.25 against Derek Chisora last October, a fight he won by decision.

That’s one reason Joshua is about a 2½-1 favorite. Is Usyk’s mission all but hopeless?

Well, his promoter, Alexander Krassyuk, insists that his client is not a blown up cruiserweight going into his third fight at heavyweight. And he believes the fight will come down to skill, anyway.

“He has been working hard … building his body for the heavyweight division, and he’s a true heavyweight now,” Krassyuk told ESPN. “No one can say he is a cruiserweight fighting as a heavyweight like Chris Byrd was.

“Oleksandr is a natural heavyweight now.”

And he has confidence in the ability of Usyk, who is No. 5 on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list.

“Boxers can just throw a punch to the chin and hope to get lucky, and they might be once out of 10, but can they do it 10 times in a row?” Krassyuk said. “You have to box and win each and every round to win the title. Boxing is the art of defense first and foremost, landing punches and not getting anything back.

“Footwork is the basis for throwing punches and defending. This is very important for any fighter, and Oleksandr is very good at this.”

Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) will meet at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on DAZN.