Undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk 15-0 (11) has admitted he has been scouting unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 22-0 (21) for years.
The 31-year-old Ukrainian southpaw made the comments about the 2012 Olympic super heavyweight champion to Sky Sports as he prepares for his high-profile title defence against former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew 30-2-1 (20) at Manchester Arena on November 10.
“I saw him for the first time at the 2011 World Championship finals against Magomedrasul Majidov. It was a great fight and after this fight I said he is going to be the Olympic champion in London,” said Usyk, himself a gold medallist at the London Olympics where he competed in the 91kg heavyweight division.
“I watched all his fights in London at the Olympic games and of course his professional fights as well. I am interested in him, I mean it is interesting to watch his fights.”
Usyk was ringside for Joshua’s WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight title defence against Russian veteran Alexander Povetkin 34-2 (24) at Wembley Stadium in London in September that the Brit won by TKO7.
“Yes I watched this fight and I really liked it,” said Usyk. “I like how Alexander was set up, it was intriguing, or it was Anthony Joshua’s plan – it wasn’t a successful plan at the beginning.
“I really liked the atmosphere at Wembley and I would like to box there too.”
The cruiserweight boss said that despite Joshua’s dominance, he didn’t see anything that particularly impressed him.
“Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. The fighter is quite well trained, I do not see anything not ordinary,” said Usyk.
With his fight against Bellew less than a fortnight away, Usyk insists he is not overlooking the 35-year-old from Liverpool.
“Do you know I cannot tell you in advance before this fight happens,” he said. “When promoters start negotiations between Usyk and Joshua, then I will get ready for that.
“If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans. Do you understand that my father raised me not to tell what hasn’t happened yet.”