ANTHONY JOSHUA has been warned upcoming foe Oleksandr Usyk has ‘better’ movement than WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury.
Joshua will defend his unified heavyweight titles against the undefeated Ukrainian on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
On paper, fleet-footed Olympic gold medallist Usyk will be one of the toughest tests of Joshua’s glittering career.
And Brit Dave Allen reckons his former sparring partner is more than capable of bamboozling AJ with his footwork.
He told talkSPORT: “Monday – I arrived Monday – and we did two-minute rounds on Monday.
“I’m here to do to a job, but I don’t want a headache, I don’t want black eyes and I don’t want my career shortening with sparring.
“So Monday and Wednesday I looked after myself. I boxed him and I didn’t really get hit very much because I’m not here for that.
“Friday they say, ‘We want you to replicate Derek Chisora.’ And I was a bit tired and I went, ‘Yeah, that’s fine, let’s have a scrap.’
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“So Monday and Wednesday I boxed him, Friday I tried to fight him.
“And all three days, no matter what I did he just had an answer for it all.
” He’s got a special ability to work people out very quick.
“The one thing I noticed is on the first day I might’ve hit him with a certain shot, on the second day I might’ve hit him with another one, on the third I might’ve hit him with another.
“But I never hit him with the same shot again, I never hit him with the same shot twice.
“Even with something as simple as a left jab, you don’t hit him with it twice because he works it out very quickly.
“He moves the best, he moves better than Tyson but he’s four stone lighter at the same time. Pound-for-pound there’s not much in it.
“But he just moves so well. I’ve not open-sparred welterweights, but I’ve body sparred them and been in the ring with them.
“And he’s as agile and as quick as a welterweight – a world-class welterweight at that. That’s how well he moves.
“He’s a very special fighter. I think him and Tyson Fury are miles and away the most talented fighters I’ve ever shared the ring with.”
Doncaster destroyer Allen also got a first-hand glimpse of Usyk’s ‘eccentric’ training methods during his time at Ukraine’s Olympic training centre.
He recalled: “I’m in the Ukraine Olympic training camp, there’s wrestlers here, there’s all sorts of sportsmen here.
“I see Usyk for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He trains different to anything I’ve ever seen before, he does things differently.
“He’s like Tyson Fury in lots of ways. He’s eccentric, he’s his own man, he trains in his underpants.
“He’s very similar to Tyson in all that he does. That was the thing that struck me after the first session, him and Tyson are very similar.
“But his training is very different to what I’ve seen before.”
Joshua, 31, is relishing his showdown with the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, saying: “I feel strong and good.
“I’m mentally and physically conditioned so I should be able to handle the pressure.
“I feel like I have nothing if I don’t win this. It would not be the end of the road but I see getting a win here just the beginning.
“There is no strategy apart from winning. I will hurt someone or beat them until I get the win.
“Boxing needs this fight and the big fights, we have been Saudi and America but when I turned pro I wanted to get British boxing respected.
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“Unless you were in America you were not respected but we have credibility now on these shores.
“We respected each other after the fight. I have met him before, in Saudi, with all due respect we are ambassadors for the sport but this is fighting, a warrior sport.
“When I watch the [Roberto] Durans and [Marvin] Haglers, we are going to war, a great fighter has a certain instinct, this is war.”
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