Anthony Joshua should not be surprised if he ends up encountering a far more aggressive version of Oleksandr Usyk than anticipated, according to Eddie Hearn.

The head of Matchroom Boxing believes his star client will need to account for the possibility that Usyk, the Ukrainian southpaw who holds the WBO, WBA, and IBF heavyweight titles, may attempt to fight more on the front foot in their heavyweight title unification bout this Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Hearn offered his opinion based on Usyk’s notably larger physique, as indicated in recent images and videos of the fighter. Joshua was roundly criticized for not taking it to the dexterous and fleet-footed Usyk often enough in their 12-round bout last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

But the addition of veteran trainer Robert Garcia to Joshua’s corner has Hearn feeling optimistic that Joshua will be able to respond accordingly to Usyk’s tactics.

“He’s going to have a corner with direction,” Hearn told BBC 5 Live Boxing. “You always have to adapt against Oleksandr Usyk. Usyk’s not stupid. He knows that Joshua is going to be more aggressive in this fight and I think looking at the size of Usyk, he’s going to try and walk AJ down. I think he doesn’t want to get backed up by Anthony Joshua. I think he’s going to try and hold the center of the ring, keep him close, walk him down, and I believe this fight will be over in six rounds, because that’s the period where Josh has to put the dent and the damage in Oleksandr Uysk.”

Hearn noted his displeasure with Joshua’s desire, going into the first fight, to outbox Usyk, and believes the strategy for dismantling Usyk has already been well documented.

“Everything I heard from Josh in the days before the fight I hated because it was always, ‘I’m gonna outbox that guy,’ and for me, the one thing you gotta do against Olskandr Uysk is put a dent in him early,” Hearn said. “Look at the state of Usyk’s face after the first fight…if you watch it back, every time he did hit him he wasn’t liking it. Watch the Derek Chisora fight against Usyk. I’ve never seen a man look so uncomfortable. That’s what you gotta do. You can’t let this guy get into a rhythm.”