When Britain’s top heavyweights gear up for Oleksandr Usyk, it’s perhaps surprising that the man often called up for the fight is a 3-0 Irish prospect.
Thomas Carty has been called into camp with Anthony Joshua, the former heavyweight champion who takes on Usyk live on Sky Sports ticket office on August 20, as well as Derek Chisora.
“I described myself as the Poundland version of Usyk,” he laughed.
But Carty is a heavyweight southpaw who has been looking to box like Usyk since the start of his own amateur career.
“I learned how to hit properly and always had a really solid foundation,” Carty said. sky sports.
“I was also mobile for a big guy and on top of that as I started to mature I got a little stronger and because I was hitting properly I got a little bit of pop now in shots.
“I guess I’ve developed a kind of slick, powerful style, which is quite interesting to watch, left-handed as well, so the punches are quite flashy when you throw them.”
He understands, however, what makes Usyk such a formidable fighter.
“What makes him effective and good is how mobile he is. His feet are really, really good. His fundamentals are, I would say up there with some of the best fundamental boxing skills ever, in my opinion,” Carty said.
“Then you have the element of being left-handed and things are not business as usual. If there are a hundred guys in the boxing gym, less than five percent will be left-handed.
“It’s something you don’t see a lot, I think, at the elite heavyweight level,” he added. “Obviously, you can choose examples, but few and far between.
“I remember seeing him against [Tony] Bellew and he were throwing left hooks-jab, next week in sparring I was throwing left hooks-jab and there are guys going to sleep in the ring. That works. It’s proven.
“If I can emulate Usyk even one percent, I’ll be fine.”
It’s something Carty has been looking to do for a long time now, since Usyk was still an amateur.
“I used to pick guys that I could steal some of their moves or mimic some of their moves and Usyk was a similar size,” Carty explained. “Similar weight class, southpaw, mobile on the feet, nice straight punches.
“So I’m going to try to copy this guy because he’s doing well. I didn’t know [back then] where he would end up, Olympic champion and world champion in the heavyweight division. It’s kind of crazy because he was a heavyweight as an amateur, 91kg, so I was trying to emulate that guy a lot.”
He was doing it so well that he was called up for his first training camp with then world champion Joshua after he only had one pro fight.
“To say surreal isn’t even enough. I’ve never seen another Irish heavyweight train with Joshua, nobody really has and the fact that I was there for a good few weeks and they loved what I was doing at 1-0 was really great for confidence,” Carty said.
“I was asked to do my thing and whatever I did naturally to replicate Usyk, they were happy, nothing forced me to do that move or move. They just wanted me to be myself, to be comfortable and be as competitive and good as I could be and that’s what I did.
“It was a really enjoyable experience, and I stress the surrealism because Anthony Joshua, two-time world heavyweight champion, is a guy that me and my homies are going to watch on TV all the time, every time. ‘he’s fighting, then all of a sudden you’re called in to help him get ready.”
It was also an educational experience for Carty. He saw what sets the best heavyweights apart from the rest.
“Obviously they have very good facilities at their disposal but other than the facilities there is no secret there is nothing they do in the gym that is not available. for you in the gym. The difference is the intensity at which they do everything,” Carty said. “It’s the intensity, that’s what makes the difference.
“They all train with great intensity. What struck me with Joshua is the amount of training he does, how hard he trains. No secret what he was doing. He was just training a lot of time and then recovering really well. Joshua really lives life.
“The margins between where I am and the top, it’s not that big a gap but it’s very difficult to make up the difference,” he added.
“So it’s doable, but you have to constantly reduce that and it will happen.”
Carty boxes next tonight (August 6) on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s fight with Miguel Marriaga at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Then he wants to fight for the Irish heavyweight title as soon as possible.
“I really want to win this because when I win I will be the first person to win it since Tyson Fury. That’s the last name on the belt. I will then fight for this but I need an opponent, I need someone who’s going to beat me. I need to make a name for myself so I can offer these guys more money and that’s the only way to see it happen.” -he declares.
“Because they definitely won’t fight me for fun.”
Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk will take place on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs. Joshua 2 now!