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Dave Allen rates Oleksandr Usyk as good as Tyson Fury

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Dave Allen rates Oleksandr Usyk alongside WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury as the best fighter he has ever sparred with.

The British heavyweight is in camp in Ukraine helping the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk prepare for his bout against Dereck Chisora on October 31.

“I’m in the Ukraine Olympic training camp, there’s wrestlers here, there’s all sorts of sportsmen here,” Allen said to talkSPORT Fight Night.

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“I see Usyk for two hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“He trains different to anything I’ve ever seen before, he does things differently.

“He’s like Tyson Fury in lots of ways. He’s eccentric, he’s his own man, he trains in his underpants.

“He’s very similar to Tyson in all that he does. That was the thing that struck me after the first session, him and Tyson are very similar.

“But his training is very different to what I’ve seen before.”

Southpaw Usyk, 33, was the breakout star of the inaugural season of the World Boxing Super Series, unifying all four major titles against Murat Gassiev in the final in July 2018 to lift the Muhammad Ali Trophy.

He defended his undisputed championship once against Tony Bellew by eighth-round stoppage four months later before moving up to the heavyweight division to defeat late replacement Chazz Witherspoon in October last year.

Allen, who has sparred Fury multiple times as well as unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, believes Usyk can be a genuine force in the open weight class.

“Monday – I arrived Monday – and we did two-minute rounds on Monday,” Allen continued.

“I’m here to do to a job, but I don’t want a headache, I don’t want black eyes and I don’t want my career shortening with sparring.

“So Monday and Wednesday I looked after myself. I boxed him and I didn’t really get hit very much because I’m not here for that.

“Friday they say, ‘We want you to replicate Derek Chisora.’ And I was a bit tired and I went, ‘Yeah, that’s fine, let’s have a scrap.’

“So Monday and Wednesday I boxed him, Friday I tried to fight him.

“And all three days, no matter what I did he just had an answer for it all.

“He’s got a special ability to work people out very quick.

“The one thing I noticed is on the first day I might’ve hit him with a certain shot, on the second day I might’ve hit him with another one, on the third I might’ve hit him with another.

“But I never hit him with the same shot again, I never hit him with the same shot twice.

“Even with something as simple as a left jab, you don’t hit him with it twice because he works it out very quickly.

“He moves the best, he moves better than Tyson but he’s four stone lighter at the same time. Pound-for-pound there’s not much in it.

“But he just moves so well. I’ve not open-sparred welterweights, but I’ve body sparred them and been in the ring with them.

“And he’s as agile and as quick as a welterweight – a world class welterweight at that. That’s how well he moves.

“He’s a very special fighter. I think him and Tyson Fury are miles and away the most talented fighters I’ve ever shared the ring with.”

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