Anthony Joshua believes Oleksandr Usyk’s added timber won’t help him punch harder and has sent the Ukrainian a stern warning that “punchers aren’t made, they’re born.” In the lead-up to fight night, a lot has been made about Usyk’s increase in size and there have been various conflicting reports.
On one end of the scale, you have Amir Khan, who claims ‘The Cat’ has gained 33lb (15kg), while on the other hand, you have Usyk’s promoter Alexander Krassyuk who is confident he is not outside of his normal weight. The consensus opinion among pundits is that Usyk will have added roughly 15lb (7kg) to his frame, but ‘AJ’ isn’t particularly concerned.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Joshua gave his thoughts on Usyk’s added muscle mass, saying: “Yeah, definitely, yeah [Usyk is bigger]. But bulking up it’s probably to help you absorb more punishment sometimes.
“If you’re a puncher, punchers aren’t made, they’re born, well that’s what they say in boxing so lifting weights and all that sort of stuff doesn’t make you a stronger puncher, but it may help you absorb more punishment. But I can’t speak on what his game plan is or why he’s done it, they know why, and I want it to work for him because I want a good fight, I want to put on a good show. So, I want it to work for him.”
He continued: “Obviously there’s more weight behind the punch but an actual hard punch doesn’t come from having bigger biceps or bigger lats or whatever. Usyk knows this, he’s not stupid, he’s a master. He’s got an honorary degree and how many masters in boxing.”
With Joshua looking to adopt a more aggressive approach under new coach Robert Garcia, Usyk has likely put on the size to help him hold his own during inside exchanges. All of the noise coming out of his camp suggests that he is preparing for the potential of being drawn into a toe-to-toe tear-up by engaging in brutal gym wars with his far larger sparring partners