Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2: Ukrainian begins brilliant mind games with stance switch

Oleksandr Usyk open workout

After Anthony Joshua’s dig towards Oleksandr Usyk’s stance, the heavyweight champion couldn’t help but to play up to the cameras during his open workout.

There’s just one day left until Usyk and Joshua meet again in the ring. It’s been 11 months since their last clash, when the Ukrainian put on a masterful performance to produce a huge upset and claim the Brit’s four heavyweight titles.

Joshua was unable to handle Usyk’s quick movement and impressive footwork at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September, and he’s since changed up his coach for the rematch.

As a result, it seems the 32-year-old has bulked up and added power to his build as he looks to secure a knockout victory and reclaim his belts once again in Saudi Arabia.

Much of Joshua’s difficulties in the first fight came through Usyk’s stance. As a left-handed fighter, he adopts a southpaw stance – something Joshua struggled to cope with.

“Fighting a leftie is a nightmare and he is a good one as well,” admitted Joshua.

Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk 2: Date, Card, UK Start Time, Ring Walks, Tickets, Live Stream, Odds and More

“He is good, but if he was an orthodox fighter I’d have smoked him, 100 percent. But with this leftie nonsense it’s just different, they set you up differently. If you are a good leftie you have a good chance of making it in boxing, I reckon.”

Usyk open workout
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – AUGUST 16: Oleksandr Usyk trains during the Rage on the Red Sea Public Work Out at Club Saudi Arabian Airlines on August 16, 2022 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

However, after firing criticism in the direction of Usyk’s stance, the 35-year-old Ukrainian decided to play up to the cameras during his open workout – where he boxed in an orthodox stance.

Usyk showed off his versatility, shadow boxing in an identical stance to Joshua’s. It’s unlikely we’ll see it at all on fight night, but it’s a brilliant bit of mind games from the 35-year-old.

Frankly, Joshua is under enough pressure as it is. The Watford-born star has suffered two defeats in his last four fights, and a third on Saturday would completely derail his journey to unify the heavyweight division.

As for Usyk, after dominating the cruiserweight division, a repeat victory in Jeddah would allow him to chase the WBC title that is expected to be vacated by Tyson Fury.

Either way, the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’ is bound to be a blockbuster event. But while we’re guaranteed plenty of action and drama – don’t expect to be seeing Usyk give up his southpaw stance too much.

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