Anthony Joshua has been backed to ‘get the job done early’ against Oleksandr Usyk – by his bitter British rival Dillian Whyte.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) faces Ukrainian great Usyk in his next fight on Saturday night, where he will look to stay on course for a domestic clash with Tyson Fury.
AJ and Whyte have been jawing at each other for years – but it seems they have temporarily called an uneasy truce.
The 33-year-old has often accused his British rival of running away scared from a second fight with him.
Despite talk of a rematch with Whyte, Joshua will instead face Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25.
And now ‘The Body Snatcher’ has backed his fellow Brit to defend his belts against the ex-undisputed cruiserweight champ this month.
During an interview with 5 Live Boxing, Whyte said: “I think it’s a great fight, but in my personal opinion, I think Joshua will stop him in the first five, six, or seven rounds.
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“Usyk will start fast, and Joshua will be a bit cagey because he’s a southpaw, he’s lighter, and Joshua can also sometimes lack confidence in fights.
“He can get caught up in, ‘Oh, he’s a good boxer, the guy’s this, the guy’s that,’ and he’s still in this learning period where he’s learning things and trying stuff out as well.
“Hopefully, he goes back to the old him and starts pressing Usyk and being the bigger, stronger guy and starts backing him up and starts hitting him with stuff early. I think he can get the job done early.”
Joshua holds a record of 24 wins and one defeat in his eight-year professional career to date while Usyk has 18 wins and no defeats to his name.
But Whyte doesn’t think Usyk will make it to the final bell against the hard-hitting Joshua.
“Usyk’s alright, he’s a good southpaw, but he’s also an aggressive southpaw as well,” he explained.
“He likes to press the fight, he’s defensively solid, but he likes to press the fight on the front foot.
“But Joshua has the height and reach and size and power, so he’s just got to tag him, and the thing is Usyk can misread the range because he’s never fought…
“Okay, he’s fought Joe Joyce, but he’s never fought – Joshua’s speed is a lot different to Joe Joyce, this is not amateurs, this is the pros.
“If Joshua wants to set the pace, he can get an early knockout. But if he wants to prove who’s the better boxer, I think he will struggle.
“But if he goes out and is strong and is confident and walks Usyk down… Listen, Chisora gave him problems because Chisora walked him down.
“Usyk is a cruiserweight, he’s got punch power at cruiserweight, the punch power I don’t see travelling with him at heavyweight.”