By: Hans Themistode
The hard part is nearly over.
After spending the past several months preparing both his mind and body for his upcoming title defense against Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua can’t help but get excited. The British native will take on his WBO mandatory challenger this coming Saturday, September 25th, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the United Kingdom.
While both have been fairly cordial of one another, in past Joshua fights, that simply hasn’t been in the case. Leading up to his most recent showdown against Kubrat Pulev, the two nearly came to blows well before the night of their actual fight. Regardless of the unified titlist having his cage rattled, he remained poised enough to record the stoppage victory.
As Usyk appears to be happy-go-lucky, repeatedly sending Joshua messages asking him how he’s doing, the 31-year-old titlist can’t help but be amused by his antics and effervescent attitude.
“I’ve seen mad people and he isn’t a mad person,” said Joshua during an interview with MailOnline Sport. “He’s fun. There is a lot of respect there.”
More than just his personality, Usyk has seemingly gained the respect of Joshua through his hard work in the ring. As an amateur, both Joshua and Usyk graced the gold medal stage together at the 2012 Olympic Games. Joshua would go on to beat out everyone in the super heavyweight division before walking away with gold, while Usyk would do the same one-weight division lower at heavyweight.
From there, Joshua has continued to be impressed with the accomplishments of the 34-year-old Ukrainian. In only his tenth pro fight, Usyk captured his first world title. Five fights later, he would finish up his cruiserweight crusade having wrapped every world title around his waist.
Now, with the highly skilled pound-for-pound star moving up in weight and snagging two victories against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora, he now has his eyes set on becoming a world champion once again.
Considering everything Usyk has accomplished, Joshua has an extreme amount of admiration for him. In fact, Joshua goes as far as to say that Usyk is cut from a legendary cloth.
“I respect him because he’s a good fighter. That’s why we’re meeting at the top. Talent-wise I love the challenge of this guy. He comes from a lineage of great champions like the Klitschko’s, Vasyl Lomachenko.”
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