Anthony Joshua must ‘go toe to toe’ to win Oleksandr Usyk rematch, says heavyweight contender Joe Joyce | Boxing News

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To beat Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch, Anthony Joshua must “become an offensive fighter” again, says heavyweight contender Joe Joyce.

Joyce boxed both Joshua and Usyk as an amateur boxer. When he was on the GB squad Joyce sparred countless rounds with Joshua at the English Institute of Sport.

He is also the number one ranked challenger for the WBO heavyweight belt, one of the three titles Usyk and Joshua will contest on August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. It makes Joyce interested observer of their rematch.

The Londoner does tip Usyk to win, though added, “Unless Joshua can really change his style and also become an offensive fighter again.

“When we were on the GB squad I always used to like going to toe to toe with him, that used to be fun. But then all of a sudden he was kind of bit more [on the] back foot.

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The world heavyweight championship rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua returns to Sky Sports Box Office on August 20.

“[Against Usyk] he seemed very tidy in his technique and his footwork and everything. But he was trying to outbox Usyk. Maybe it was Usyk that was keeping him away. But he seemed very clinical. He could have roughed him up a bit more inside and took a few chances with pot shots.”

Joyce thinks Joshua needs to bring back his style of old. “There was a stage especially early where we were going toe to toe all the time,” Joyce said. “Then it got to a point, kind of when he turned pro he started to be a bit more on the back foot and not really willing to engage.

“Especially with the (Andy) Ruiz Jr rematch he probably went into that defensive on the back foot [mode],” Joyce said.

“[He] was kind of scared to engage. I guess rightly so because he must have seen the shadow of Ruiz putting him down. Even (Wladimir) Klitschko put him down and he was in trouble for a whole round when they fought. Klitschko, if he’d been more an offensive fighter, he could have taken him out there.”

Anthony Joshua commiserates Joe Joyce following his loss in the 2016 Olympic final (PA)
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Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce used to be sparring partners for many years

Even more aggression might not be enough against Usyk second time around, thinks Joyce.

“[Usyk] already knew what to do in the first fight, he went straight to work. So this fight he’s already beaten him. So he knows exactly what to do again. He’s probably three, four moves ahead of him,” Joyce suggested. “So it’s a tough one.”

The Londoner experienced first hand just how good the Ukrainian was when he boxed Usyk over five rounds in the World Series of Boxing format back in 2013.

“He was slipping my shots. I could have been more effective with a double jab and he was easily slipping my punches and moving his feet but I gave it all I got,” Joyce said.

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Boxing trainer Gary Logan and Heavyweight Frazer Clarke analyse what Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk need to do ahead of their fight on Sky Sports.

“I was landing some big shots with him as well. It wasn’t one sided. It was quite a close fight, I thought, and I definitely put up a better fight than Joshua, I think.”

If Joyce beats Joseph Parker when they fight on September 24, he will remain the WBO no. 1 heavyweight contender and stay on course for the August 20 winner. He would prefer that to be Joshua.

“Off the London Olympics the boxing scene has exploded and he’s been at the forefront of it and he’s made boxing exciting again,” Joyce said.

“That’s a great fight. If he can beat Usyk this time.”

Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!

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