By Cameron Temple
Eddie Hearn believes Oleksandr Usyk could be looking to fight fire with fire by coming into his rematch with Anthony Joshua at his heaviest weight ever.
In the first fight, in September last year, Usyk weighed in at just over 100kg and he used his fleet-footedness and fast reflexes to out-box Joshua over 12 rounds.
Ahead of the rematch, which is live on talkSPORT, however, promoter Hearn thinks Usyk has put on considerable weight in an attempt to nullify the physical advantages of Joshua.
“I think he’ll come in closer to 110kg,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“I think he came in about 100kg last time, so we’re talking about 10kg more… I think he looks a little bit fleshy in the pictures I saw yesterday, not fleshy like me, but a bigger heavyweight.
“I don’t know if that’s intentional, sometimes you’re just moulded into the heavyweight division and sometimes you’re intentionally putting on weight to fight a different style of fight.
“If you want to be quick, use your movement and be evasive, you want to be as light as possible, but if you want to stand your ground and push someone back, you want to have that little bit more strength and weight, so maybe he’s doing that.”
Usyk’s own manager, Alexander Krassyuk, has disputed these claims, revealing instead he believes the current WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world champion will come in at the same weight as the first fight.
“We will definitely see it on Friday at the weigh-in”, Krassyuk told iD boxing, “but he’s not out of the range of his normal weight, so I don’t think his weight is going to be anything different from the weight he had in the first fight.
“That’s his best condition, I mean, his speed and his power is on the best level when he stays in his weight, something around [100 kg].”
As for Joshua, he has insisted that he will be going for the knockout in this rematch and using his size and strength to his advantage, and Hearn believes he looks in perfect condition to fulfil those aims.
“He’s talking about 110-112 kg,” Hearn revealed, “which is probably a touch heavier than some of his performances.
“I was sitting there next to him yesterday looking at his arms, they were about three times the size of my quads, he looks massive, but lean, fast and explosive.”
AJ v USYK TOP OFFERS
888Sport: Get Anthony Joshua to win at 15/1 or Oleksandr Usyk at 6/1 (£5 max bet)* CLAIM HERE
Bet365: Bet £10 Get £50 in Free Bets* – CLAIM HERE
888Sport: Deposit min £/$/€10 using promo code 888ODDS • Bet up to £/$/€5 on your selection at normal odds in the regular market • If your selection wins, we’ll pay you out at the normal price and any extra winnings from the advertised enhanced price will be paid to you in Free Bets • Free Bets are granted within 72 hours and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes are not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods and countries & Full T&C’s apply 18+ begambleaware.org
Bet365: Open account offer. Bet £10 & Get £50 in Free Bets for new customers at bet365. Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply 18+ Begambleaware.org