Eddie Hearn thinks Anthony Joshua can replicate Derek Chisora and “bring fear of Christ” Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night.
The Briton defends his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world titles at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against one of the division’s most dangerous and unknown qualities.
A king at cruiserweight, Usyk has dominated everything before him, often in enemy territory and with few problems.
After winning Olympic gold in London in 2012, he then eliminated Tony Bellew in Manchester in 2018 upon his return to the UK.
Still, his return to those shores this past Halloween gave him a huge fright as he was put under intense pressure by Chisora for 12 punishing rounds at Wembley Arena.
Although the 34-year-old left with his undefeated record intact and with even more heavyweight experience under his belt, it was far from comfortable as the brutal and ready style of his veteran opponent forced him to work extremely hard.
While Hearn expects the unified heavyweight champion to box intelligently as a fellow Olympian himself, the tactics employed by “War Chisora” may well be replicated overnight.
“Chisora makes anyone fear Christ and he made Usyk fear Christ in the first three rounds,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“He looked like he didn’t know what to do, but Joshua wasn’t going to do it. Joshua isn’t just going to maraud and fight like Chisora did.
“But he’s got to do a little bit of what Chisora did in my opinion, which is use that size and finally put the pressure on and be the taller man in there.”
“It will be a different type of fight than that for sure.”
Joshua’s career trajectory has taken him from an 18-year-old rookie to a world champion in less than a decade – frightening when you consider the man in the opposite corner on Saturday night had 350 amateur fights.
Yet much of the Briton’s learning came on the job and when he faced intense pressure; stepping off the canvas to beat Wladimir Klitschko and avenge his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr two years later are two perfect examples.
Such invaluable experience has prepared the 31-year-old for what promises to be his toughest test yet and Hearn is confident his fighter can leave the capital with his belts on again.
He added, “I don’t think I’ve seen AJ as confident before a fight as he is now, which is ironic because it’s mentally and technically his toughest fight.
“He’s just comfortable with what he’s doing. I think in the past you have to remember that for much of his career AJ was taking fights way ahead of his time – fights he probably shouldn’t have been in.
“Fights he probably wasn’t 100% mentally for because he didn’t know how to handle this style and had to use size, brute strength and heart to get through them – Klitschko probably being the best example and even Alexander Povetkin at the time.
“Now I feel like he’s confident of his technique, his strategy and his plans. He always knows it’s going to be a very tough fight, and that cools me down a bit. When he had these fights, I knew he wasn’t really ready.
“He was never really ready for Klitschko, after 17 fights or whatever. So now I see him just cooler, more focused and just more experienced – seasoned.
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“Absolutely built like a tank! I saw Usyk in there tonight and thought, “Wow, look at his neck, look at his shoulders! “
“And then AJ came out and he didn’t look very skinny to me, he looked like a racehorse and he’s in great shape. You’re going to have two guys in their absolute prime on Saturday night.