By: Hans Themistode
Otto Wallin couldn’t believe what he was initially watching.
After pegging Anthony Joshua to be too big and too strong for former undisputed cruiserweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk, the highly ranked heavyweight contender was stunned when the two squared off on September 25th, 2021.
In front of a jam-packed crowd at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Usyk easily outboxed his man. Despite having the height, weight, and reach advantages, and regardless of the hulking muscles, Usyk stood his ground and peppered Joshua with straight lefts over and over again.
At the conclusion of 12 hard-fought rounds, Usyk emerged victoriously as the division’s new unified champion. Unwilling to sit back and allow his championship reign to come to an end so abruptly, Joshua immediately enforced his mandatory rematch clause.
Although an official date hasn’t been set just yet, the two will square off once more this coming Summer. With the opportunity to redeem himself rapidly approaching, Joshua is confident in retaking what was once his. But while the former two-time heavyweight champion has a steely look of determination, Wallin believes Joshua is putting on a false facade.
“He might have the tools to beat him but he lacks the confidence,” said Wallin during an interview with Thaboxingvoice. “I think that if he can get some of the confidence back, be aggressive and brawl like Chisora did against Usyk, I think that would be the way to beat him.”
As Wallin eludes to, Usyk was given all he could handle during a 2020 showdown against Dereck Chisora. The rough and rugged fringe contender pushed the former Olympic gold medalist back on several occasions. In addition to his physicality, Chisora threw punches in bunches on the inside, making things uncomfortable for Usyk.
Although he would ultimately come up short, Wallin believes that Chisora laid out the blueprint to defeating Usyk. But, to Wallin’s dismay, Joshua refused to use his physical attributes. Instead, Joshua opted to box Usyk from the outside.
With part two looming, Joshua has revealed that he plans on bringing the fight to Usyk from the very beginning. Regardless of what appears to be newfound aggression, Wallin, who once fought Joshua in the amateurs, is reluctant to go against Usyk. Unless, of course, Joshua reveals a certain mean streak.
“It’s hard to go against Usyk after that first fight. Usyk really had his number. Joshua is going to have to come up with something special.”