By Barry Holbrook: WBC interim heavyweight champion Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte isn’t in favor of Anthony Joshua facing his WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk in his next fight in August.
As far as Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) is concerned, it’s a “dead fight” because the former undisputed cruiserweight champion Usyk can’t punch and isn’t a true heavyweight.
Whyte notes that the 34-year-old Usyk has bulked up since moving up to the heavyweight division in 2019, and he’s shown no improvement in his power. Moreover, Usyk has looked terrible in his two fights at heavyweight against journeyman Dereck Chisora and Chazz Witherspoon.
A more important reason that Whyte is failing to mention as to why Joshua SHOULDN’T fight Usyk next is that it won’t bring in the money and fan interest that a fight against other heavyweights would attract.
Usyk isn’t popular, and he’s done nothing to build his brand by fighting defensively in his dull wins over Chisora and Witherspoon.
Joshua vs. Usyk = Dead fight
“He has no punch power,” said Whyte to Sky Sports News. “Usyk is not a true heavyweight contender. This is a “dead fight, Usyk hasn’t looked good.
“Okay, he’s got good movement, but it’s not nice movement. At cruiserweight his movement was nice, but at heavyweight, his movement is not nice. It’s just so negative.”
Well, Joshua has a good excuse for why he should fight with Usyk next rather than fighting someone the fans would be interested in seeing him take on. Usyk is AJ’s WBO mandatory, which means that he’ll be stripped of his title if he doesn’t fight him next.
As we know already, Joshua’s goal is to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, so he’s not going to want to start giving up titles at this point.
Joshua only needs to get his hands on Fury’s WBC title to round out his collection of belts at heavyweight, and it would be detrimental for him to give up his WBO strap to Usyk.
On top of that, it’s an easy fight for Joshua on paper. As Whyte says, Usyk can’t punch, and he’s not a threat to beating him.
Usyk’s power hasn’t improved
“The Derek Chisora fight, I watched the first six rounds, and when Derek tired, I was like, this is rubbish,” said Whyte about Usyk’s recent win over Chisora last October.
“Derek was out on his feet, and he [Usyk] couldn’t even stop him,” Whyte continued. “He was punching him clean, and Derek was walking through.
“Now he is 105 kilos, he is going to struggle to carry that weight around the ring, and he isn’t one ounce stronger,” said Dillian.
Joshua will probably take the fight with Usyk next unless it doesn’t make sense for him business-wise, as his promoter Eddie Hearn points out.
Chisora wasn’t out on his feet because Usyk hurt him. It was more of a case of Chisora being dog-tired like he was in his recent match against Joseph Parker.
At this point in the 37-year-old Chisora’s career, his stamina has deteriorated, making it hard for him to fight hard for a full 12 round fight.