EDDIE HEARN has declared Oleksandr Usyk will ‘never be a fully-fledged heavyweight’ despite him packing on the pounds to face Anthony Joshua.
The unbeaten Ukrainian, 34, challenges the British icon for the WBA, WBO and IBF titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday night.
It will be just his third bout in the weight class after wiping out the cruiserweight division where he won all four belts in the World Boxing Super Series.
His first fight up at heavyweight saw him weigh in at 15st 5lbs for Chazz Witherspoon, before he tipped the scales at 15st 7lbs for Derek Chisora.
And Usyk has beefed up in his preparations to meet fellow London 2012 gold medallist AJ inside the ring.
In contrast, Joshua appears to prioritising speed over size after he showed off a leaner physique on his Instagram account last week.
Joshua‘s promoter Hearn believes his fighter is a ‘different kind of beast’ as he insisted that despite The Cat’s obvious skill, his body transformation hasn’t convinced him he can hang with the big boys.
He told talkSPORT: “I think that Usyk will never be a fully-fledged heavyweight – a real heavyweight in terms of size.
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“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.
“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.”
And Game of Thrones actor-turned boxer Haftor Bjornsson has also spoke of his worry for Usyk following his weight gain.
Speaking to SunSport, he said: “I think Joshua will be a bit too big for Usyk.
Joshua vs Usyk: All the TV, stream and undercard info ahead of Saturday’s heavyweight bout
“Usyk is a great boxer, but there is a height difference and a weight difference. I think that Usyk is gaining some weight now.
“So I don’t know how that will affect his performance, he won’t be used to being that heavy. We don’t know how he’ll react to that.
“Whether it will make him a bit more stiff or what but my money is on Joshua. He’s more comfortable in that weight category.”