Oleksandr Usyk’s former sparring partner Jordan Thompson has told Anthony Joshua to ‘take Usyk’s head clean off for him’ after revealing that he has ‘unfinished business’ with the Ukrainian. Thompson went on to tease a story that explains why the pair have fallen out during a recent interview.
Speaking to iFL TV, he said: “I have sparred Usyk. I sparred Usyk out in the Ukraine. That was interesting so I hope AJ takes his head clean off, I’ll tell you that for free, clean off please for me.”
When asked what happened in the sparring session, Thompson responded: “Not a lot, but when I see Usyk, I’ve got business to take care of. You’re going to draw me out, look you’re going to draw me out. I’ll tell the story one day, I might even tell it to you, on iFL live, but me and Usyk we’re going to see each other one day that’s for sure.”
Thompson sparred Usyk in preparations for ‘The Cat’s’ 2018 undisputed cruiserweight unification bout against Murat Gassiev. Giving more insight into the rounds he shared with Usyk during an interview with OddsChanger, the Brit revealed that Usyk’s team were not happy with his style.
He said: “It was an interesting one. They weren’t happy with my style and asked me to box more like Gassiev, which was a tough ask considering I’m more of a rangey fighter, whereas Gassiev is a lot more come forward than me.
“Him being a southpaw. At the time I hadn’t shared the ring with another southpaw yet so to dive in at the deep end with one of the best southpaws on the planet was a little tricky for me, however, I learnt a heck of a lot from it.”
When asked whether he spotted any weaknesses in Usyk’s game during their sparring session, Thompson responded: “I found that I had a lot of success to the body, and he didn’t like it.”
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Usyk has been hurt by body shots on occasion during his amateur career. In 2011, he was dropped by a right hook to the midriff by now WBC, IBF, and WBO light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev. Then two years later in a World Series of Boxing bout, a straight right to the solar plex from three-time amateur gold-medallist Magomedrasul Majidov sent Usyk to the canvas again.
Joshua, who is preparing to face Usyk for a second time, could potentially look to exploit that ‘weakness’ in their August 20 rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The former unified champion is expected to deploy more aggressive tactics compared to their first fight after axing Robert McCracken as his head trainer and replacing him with Robert Garcia.