Oleksandr Usyk will be the ‘best boxer’ Anthony Joshua will EVER face, including Tyson Fury, but Tony Bellew labels AJ best athletic heavyweight he’s ever seen

Oleksandr Usyk is the best boxer Anthony Joshua will face in his career, including Tyson Fury, Tony Bellew has told talkSPORT.

AJ is set to defend his unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles against the Ukrainian on Saturday night.

Joshua will clash with Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

Usyk was the undisputed unified champion at cruiserweight, but made the step up and gets his chance against the Brit at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua has faced some brilliant boxers in his career, but Usyk will be on another level, according to Bellew.

“This is the boxer he will ever face,” he told talkSPORT. “Different opponents bring different things to the table.

“Usyk brings a whole load of experience, a whole load of power, a whole load of negative tactics that are very hard to combat against. Oleksandr Usyk, as a pure natural boxer, is the best boxer AJ will face and I include Tyson Fury.

Usyk conquered the cruiserweight division before moving up to heavyweight
Simon Stacpoole/Matchroom

“As a natural boxer and his technical ability, no one is anywhere near as good a boxer as him in the heavyweight division. He’s in a league of his own.”

Usyk beat Bellew back in 2018 and was the undisputed cruiserweight, winning all 16 of his fights at that weight.

He moved up to heavyweight in 2019, but has only faced two opponents, both of which he won, but is largely untested at this level.

Bellew said: “For Oleksandr Usyk, he’s just phenomenally good. His judgement of distance, shot selection, offence, defence is brilliant. 

“He knows how to manage a fight and judge a fight. He is just exceptional at what he does. All this has been proven at cruiserweight, none of this has been proven at heavyweight.”

Usyk knocked out Bellew in November 2018
Getty Images – Getty

For all of Usyk’s strengths, Bellew believes that Joshua is well placed to win and even labelled him the most gifted heavyweight athletically he’s ever seen.

He added: “Physically, I think he’s the best heavyweight ever. I think he’s that far ahead of people when it comes to speed.

“When you put the complete package in athletically, he’s the most gifted heavyweight athletically I’ve seen in my lifetime.

“That’s the thing with AJ, and why I said he will beat Fury, he’s athletically gifted enough to not only close the gap but also to stay there.

“No matter how fast you are, he can stay on top of you and these are the great attributes he has being such a great athlete he is.

Joshua is the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

“He’s also a really good boxer as well. They don’t give Olympic golds medals away.

“He’s got a fantastic jab, as we’ve already seen in the Andy Ruiz Jr rematch and in the Joseph Parker fight.

“He’s able to dictate the range with his jab himself. The jab as a weapon is rarely used against a southpaw. If he uses it the way he was using it in his last sparring session last week, it is going to be a problem for Oleksandr Usyk.

“The other guys I’ve just mentioned have their own attributes. Tyson Fury has the feet of a ballerina and is about nine foot. How he does that, I don’t know, but these are the attributes he has.

“Someone like Deontay Wilder doesn’t have any technical skill or ability at all, but yet he has a punch like a kick from a horse.

“Each and every person will bring their own individual attributes.”