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Oleksandr Usyk Has Undergone A Body Transformation Ahead Of Anthony Joshua Fight

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Oleksandr Usyk Has Undergone A Body Transformation Ahead Of Anthony Joshua Fight

Oleksandr Usyk has had to go through a body transformation over the past few years to go from undisputed cruiserweight world champion to Anthony Joshua's latest opponent.

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Usyk last fought at cruiserweight against Tony Bellew in 2018, when he retained five version of the 200 lbs division by stopping the Brit in the eighth round.

As WBO world champion, Usyk was in line to face the owner of the heavyweight champion of the sanctioning body and that put him on course to face Joshua.

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The two men will finally face each other on Saturday, and Usyk has certainly come along way from his cruiserweight days to take on the two time world champion.

Usyk in 2017. Image: PA Images
Usyk in 2017. Image: PA Images
Usyk ahead of his fight against Bellew. Image: PA Images
Usyk ahead of his fight against Bellew. Image: PA Images

The Ukrainian has been working hard to become a heavyweight, fighting just twice in the division before facing AJ at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, including last October's decision victory over Dereck Chisora.

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"He has been working hard," promoter Alexander Krassyuk told ESPN.

"Building his body for the heavyweight division, and he's a true heavyweight now.

"No one can say he is a cruiserweight fighting as a heavyweight like Chris Byrd was. Oleksandr is a natural heavyweight now."

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However Joshua's promoter Eddie Hearn isn't convinced the 2012 Olympic heavyweight champion, who won gold the same week as AJ, will never be a true heavyweight in the professional ranks.

"I think that Usyk will never be a fully-fledged heavyweight – a real heavyweight in terms of size," the Matchroom Boxing chief said, via the Sun.

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"What he will always have is a huge amount of skill.

"It takes time for people to bed into heavyweight, so put it this way, it would’ve been a lot easier fight for AJ a year-and-a-half ago.

"Now Usyk has fought a real heavyweight contender in Chisora, that will actually help him to start to understand what needs to be done.

"But AJ’s a different kind of beast. A good big guy will always beat a good small guy, so we’ll see."

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The winner of the fight will hold all but one of the world heavyweight titles, with Tyson Fury still owning the final one, and being considered the lineal champion.

Fury faces Deontay Wilder, for the the third time, at the beginning of October, the Gypsy King is then hoping to meet AJ next March, as long as he comes through the Usyk fight.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua, Boxing, Heavyweight Boxing

Ryan Sidle
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