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Boxing

Anthony Joshua rival Oleksandr Usyk shows off impressive body transformation as Hearn says his small size is problem

OLEKSANDR USYK has been piling on the pounds in preparation for heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

The former undisputed cruiserweight king faces AJ – the who has the WBA, IBF and WBO unified belts – on September 25 at Tottenham’s stadium.

Oleksandr Usyk has been piling on the pounds in preparation to fight Anthony Joshua
Oleksandr Usyk weighing in at cruiserweight

It will be his third fight at heavyweight, having beat Chazz Witherspoon, 39, on his divisional debut in 2019, and then Derek Chisora, 37, a year later.

Since beating Chisora over 12 rounds, Usyk, 34, has been bulking up and recently scaled 16st 4lb in an online video.

That is still almost a stone lighter than AJ, who weighed in at 17st 2lb for his last win against Kubrat Pulev, 40, in December 2019.

Promoter Eddie Hearn told talkSPORT: “I think that Usyk will never be a fully fledged heavyweight – a real heavyweight in terms of size.

“But what he will always have is a huge amount of skill.

“It takes time for people to bed into heavyweight, so put it this way, it would’ve been a lot easier fight for AJ a year-and-a-half ago.

‘AJ’S A DIFFERENT KIND OF BEAST’

“Now Usyk has fought a real heavyweight contender in Chisora, that will actually help him to start to understand what needs to be done.

“But AJ’s a different kind of beast. A good big guy will always beat a good small guy, so we’ll see.”

Joshua, 31, was only ordered to fight Usyk by the WBO after his all-British unification bout with Tyson Fury collapsed.

Fury, 32, was instead made to face Deontay Wilder, 35, once again after the American won his right to a trilogy bout in arbitration.

It leaves AJ waiting even longer for his shot at heavyweight supremacy, but he warned Usyk poses just as much of a threat as anyone else.

He said to Sky Sports: “I’ve got another challenger who’s good, just as good. I have to be serious about him now.

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“He will definitely step up, he will definitely take the fight. That’s what I need – people that are serious.

“I would have loved to have boxed for the undisputed championship because it was a big fight for the public. We had everything set up.

“I have to move forward and not keep dwelling.”

Anthony Joshua with his unified belts at Tottenham’s stadium

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