By Brian Webber: Tim Bradley says the key for Anthony Joshua beating Oleksandr Usyk next week in their rematch on August 20th is to hurt him “badly.”
Bradley says Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) has made the right changes by him adding trainer Robert Garcia to his team, but he’s got to remain the person he was in the past for him to dethrone unified heavyweight champion Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs).
“It’s a tough fight for both. If I were to give Joshua some tips, yes, you need to be mentally tough, you got to be physically ready, but don’t lose yourself. Don’t lose who you are, don’t lose what got you there,” said Tim Bradley to Fighthype.
The basic problem with Joshua, 32, fighting the way he’s done in the past is that he’s likely to gas out if he chooses to jump on Usyk from the get-go.
That’s how Joshua used to fight before Andy Ruiz Jr. made him pay a heavy price for that wreckless style in their first fight in 2019. Of course, if Joshua wants to bet the farm and go for broke in an all-out assault against Usyk, it may work.
It’s risky, though, because Usyk isn’t one of the many flawed guys that Joshua has essentially built his record on.
If this is Joshua’s trainer Robert Garcia’s game plan to go whole hog from the opening round, hoping to get a knockout, he’s got to stick with the plan. Garcia will obviously be shown the door and quickly ushered out of Joshua’s camp if AJ loses to Usyk again.
“Joshua has skills and has shown that he can adapt and make changes,” said Bradley. “He did against Ruiz. He’s in there with an experienced trainer that will definitely probably get him in shape. He’s definitely going to give him some Xs and Os where he can find the holes & tendencies that Usyk has,” said Bradley.
It’s hard to give Joshua full credit for his win over Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch because the American didn’t even train for the fight. It’s well-documented that Ruiz Jr was blowing off training sessions and still basking in the glow of his upset win earlier.
Beating Usyk won’t be as easy for Joshua as it was for the out-of-shape 283-lb Ruiz. That’s why it’s important that Joshua has a good game plan that he can follow to the letter and make adapts if needed.
“Usyk is a left-hander, but he’s got a good backhand,” said Bradley. “That’s the thing about Joshua. You can bait Joshua. You watch the film. He does bite on it. If you’ve got a moving target, you have to attack the body. You hear me saying that all the time.
“He can do it from the outside; he can do it from long range, and you can cut him off where he’s going to go. You just got to set traps for this guy [Usyk],” said Bradley.
Whatever traps that Joshua sets for Usyk, they’re going to be spotted because he’s too big & robotic to surprise him. Usyk already knows that Joshua is going to attempt to impose his size and rough him up in the fight.
“If Joshua is going to win this fight, he’s got to hurt Usyk badly,” said Bradley. “I’m pretty sure that he’s serious about this. He understands that this is everything.
“He made the necessary changes, got a new trainer. He definitely understands the task at hand,” Bradley said about Joshua. “Usyk, the first fight wasn’t easy.
“After the fight, Usyk probably had to take a week off. Like literally, rest his body because he’s a small heavyweight. Physically & mentally, having to take those kinds of shots. It’s no joke.
“He understands it’s going to be a tough fight. That’s why you see him bulking up. His legs are great; he has great legs.
“That’s where he gets Joshua. The way he gets him in position and that kills Joshua because that kills Joshua. He’s really heavy, walking forward. His footwork isn’t that great.
“Usyk is in & out, bouncing. He gives you a lot of different looks. There’s a lot of smoke & mirrors just to get you out of position, and then, boom. He hits you with that straight left hand.
“Joshua understands what he did. He needs to worry about not giving in. If things start getting rough and getting hectic in there, do not give up. You’ve got to stay to the plan, and believe in his corner and believe in his conditioning.
“I’ve already picked Usyk to win the fight, and I believe a late stoppage. The more and more that I think about it, I think it’s going to be a more competitive fight than I said in the beginning.
“I’ve been watching film, and Joshua seems to be getting mentally focused. He knows he has a lot to prove. The mitts don’t hit back. He looks great. They don’t hit back.
“If Joshua gets stopped, I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the road for him. He’s already built his fanbase, and he’s a household name. The dude is making sixty million dollars for this fight.
“I just think he gets back into the running. You got Deontay wilder, and there are other guys that he can face. But I think his stock will definitely drop,” Bradley said about Joshua if he were to lose to Usyk in their rematch.
“I think it’ll be tough for Eddie Hearn to really do anything with Joshua shortly after that. I know he has a fanbase, but who the hell is he going to fight then?
“I would love to see him fight Fury. Even if he loses because styles make fights. I want to see him and Fury go at it if he loses. If he wins, I want to see him and Fury go at it.
“Either or, those guys have got to run it, man. I would love to see Fury-Usyk; I want to see that too. I think that would make a lot of sense. It should be good,” said Bradley.