Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk prediction: David Haye has backed Anthony Joshua to shock the world by knocking out Oleksandr Usyk.
The unbeaten Usyk, who trains alongside Vasyl Lomachenko, is the mandatory challenger for champion Joshua who defended his belts by beating Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev in December.
Joshua, 31, will defend his WBA (Super), WBO, IBF and IBO titles against the Simferopol-born Ukrainian at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 21.
AJ’ (24-1, 22 KO’s) was originally scheduled to face fellow British rival Tyson Fury but their showdown was axed after an arbitration court ruled that The Gypsy King should fight Deontay Wilder for a third time.
Having sparred with him previously, Haye is well aware of the dangers the unified heavyweight world champion poses, and believes he will adopt a methodical approach to beating Usyk.
Asked if Usyk will pose much of a threat to Joshua, he replied via iFL TV: “Not much, I don’t think.
“I think if Anthony Joshua decides to have a tit-for-tat boxing match, like just jabbing and trying to score points, then he’d have some trouble, but he’s not stupid enough to do that.
“He’s just going to use his beautiful jab, use his height and reach advantage, his size and weight advantage, his punch power advantage, his physical athletic advantage, the advantage of being able to receive punches from big heavyweights…
“He’s just better all-round and it’s just gonna be pretty devastating.
“I’ve seen it in my head, I’ve said it a couple of times before, he’s gonna hit him with a one-two, might not even land one-two, but he’s going to come across with the left cross, nice jab, and put him down or out, one of the two.”
Read more: Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk: Date, Odds, Tickets, Stats, Live Stream, Card And Everything You Need To Know
Haye’s former opponent Tony Bellew, however, respectfully disagrees, having been on the receiving end of a brutal combination in November 2018.
“Believe you me mate, he hits hard enough to send me down,” he told DAZN. “He’s exceptional. He’s the best I ever faced. He is so technically perfect. His footwork is on another level.
“Sometimes [you] just gotta hold your hands up and say I lost to the better guy. He is better than me. He is fantastic, phenomenally gifted in everything that he does.
“My only worry, which I’ve become friends with them and I speak to him was don’t go too big. I just feel like it’s going to be size that beats this man.
“No one is going to outbox this guy,” he added. “No one’s going to be outboxing the man, leading the dance.
“Nobody in the whole world, not even Fury is going to lead this merry dance, purely because his feet are so good that Tyson will be a little bit lost.
“I think Tyson will try and bring him to them because if you chase and attack someone like Oleksandr, it’s what AJ needs to do because it’s the way AJ can do it, and AJ is a good enough athlete and quick enough with the feet to get there.
“Fury isn’t. So Fury will use his size and try to overcrowd him, get close to lean on, make it messy, make it hard.
“For someone like AJ, I believe AJ is going to be losing when he stops him. I think he’ll be behind on points. I think he catches up with him about rounds eight or nine.
“Hopefully, it can be quicker. If he lets the gap get too big, then this boy can get away with it. Trust me, he’s a threat. He’s a big, big dangerous threat.
“People are overlooking the fact that he’s a cruiserweight. Don’t think about him as a cruiserweight. Just think about his actual technical ability and what he’s capable of doing in a boxing ring. This guy can make people look ridiculous.”