Johnny Nelson has predicted Anthony Joshua to defeat Oleksandr Usyk when the two heavyweights clash – but believes it won’t be easy for the Brit.
Joshua is set to defend his unified heavyweight titles against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.
Usyk is a formidable opponent who has marvellous footwork and agility, allowing the Ukrainian to dance in and out of Joshua’s range.
Nelson is a fan of both fighters, despite supporting Joshua in the upcoming bout.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of Anthony Joshua, it’s never been hidden,” Nelson told Sky Sports.
“I’m a fan of Oleksandr Usyk 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.
However, Nelson believes Usyk will be defeated by Watford-born Joshua.
“I saw [Usyk’s] introduction to the heavyweight division and I was underwhelmed – and he’s a good fighter, excellent pedigree,” Nelson continued. “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."
Who will win between Joshua and Usyk? Have you say in the comments below.
Nelson, who finished his career with a 45-12-2 record, believes Usyk is capable of defeating Joshua, particularly if the 31-year-old underestimates the Ukrainian.
The former British boxer said Joshua needs to showcase his standing as the world heavyweight champion and stamp his authority on the bout.
While he picked Joshua to overcome a 'rough ride' to get the win, Nelson did admit Usyk is certainly capable of shocking the world and ending AJ's second reign as unified heavyweight champion after the highly-anticipated bout with Tyson Fury fell through.
He warned Joshua cannot afford a slip-up against the 'dangerous' Usyk.
Despite the hype surrounding the Ukrainian, Joshua cannot wait for the upcoming bout with his fellow Olympian.
“We are two Olympic gold medallists who have fought our way to the top and never avoided challenges,” the 31-year-old said.
“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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