Anthony Joshua could be offered expert sparring with Luis Ortiz as he prepares for Oleksandr Usyk | Boxing News

Anthony Joshua


Anthony Joshua could be offered expert sparring with Luis Ortiz as he radically changes his training plans for the southpaw threat posed by Oleksandr Usyk.

The WBA, IBF and WBO champion has been ordered to face Usyk, his WBO mandatory challenger, after the collapse of a proposed undisputed world heavyweight title fight against Tyson Fury.

Fury has signed for a third fight against Deontay Wilder on July 24, while Joshua is also expected to make his next world title defence this summer and will need to swiftly assemble sparring partners.

Luis Ortiz is open to sparring with Joshua

‘King Kong’ Ortiz, a two-time world title challenger, could be open to assisting preparations for Usyk.

“As far as for Joshua, I’d go help him get ready, but Usyk shouldn’t be a problem for Joshua,” Cuba’s two-time world title challenger told Sky Sports.

“But then again it’s boxing and at this level every heavyweight is a problem.”

Ortiz is yet to return to the ring since a November knockout win over Alexander Flores.

“Hopefully by September or maybe sooner,” said Ortiz, when asked about his next fight date.

“It’s been tough to get a real good fight with the top guys.”

Who else could spar Joshua?

Otto Wallin
Otto Wallin is another highly-ranked southpaw contender

Swedish contender Otto Wallin was recruited as a sparring partner for Joshua’s last fight against a southpaw, the IBF title victory over Charles Martin in 2016.

But the New York-based fighter has since emerged as a potential future opponent, having racked up 22 victories, with just a solitary defeat coming on points against Tyson Fury in 2019.

“In my opinion, Otto Wallin defeats Anthony Joshua,” his promoter Dmitriy Salita told Sky Sports.

“Otto wants to fight the winner of Joshua vs Fury, if that fight ever happens.

Anthony Joshua, Otto Wallin
The Swede has already sparred with Joshua (pic courtesy of Otto Wallin’s official Instagram

“If it doesn’t, he’s right there to fight either guy.

“Sparring at this point would not be appropriate.”

Training camp manager David Ghansa has explained how fighters are selected to spar with Joshua.

“What people don’t realise about sourcing sparring partners is that you will never find a carbon copy,” Ghansa had told Sky Sports, ahead of the successful world title defence against Kubrat Pulev.

“We look for the height, the type of shots they throw, and we try to piece together a puzzle.

“Sometimes, you also have to throw in a wild card.

“Lots of heavyweights reply and say: ‘Thanks for the opportunity but I want to fight the champ, not spar him!’

“AJ knows sparring is about preparation, not trying to hurt anybody. But they are fighters so it can get heated.”