Eddie Hearn believes Anthony Joshua could take a page or two out of Derek Chisora’s playbook in his rematch against heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.
Along with most of the boxing chorus, Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, which promotes Joshua, has been vocal about Joshua’s need to deliver a far more aggressive performance against the Ukrainian southpaw in order to regains his WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF titles in their heavyweight unification clash on Aug. 20 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Joshua came up short in a points loss to Usyk last September at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Hearn said Joshua would be wise to press Usyk in the manner that his countryman, the hard-nosed veteran Chisora, did in his fight with the Ukrainian in 2020. Usyk wound up defeating Chisora, another Hearn client, by 12-round unanimous decision. Joshua has been roundly criticized for failing to press the action against the smaller Usyk, a former unified cruiserweight champion, in their first meeting.
“You’ve got to push him back, just like Chisora did,” Hearn told BBC 5 Live Boxing. “Watch the Chisora fight, [the] few first rounds. [Usyk] was up against the ropes. You gotta get him back there. You gotta rugby tackle him back to those ropes. [Usyk will be a] sitting duck, sitting duck.”
Hearn has not ruled out a potential scenario whereby Usyk tries to command the action. But the promoter believes that in order for Joshua to have a chance at winning he must be able to inflict some major damage on the fleet-footed Ukrainian in the early rounds.
“You can’t be careless against a great counterpuncher like Oleksandr Usyk,” Hearn said. “Listen, Usyk may come out on the front foot and go on and push AJ back. You saw that in Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury (rematch).
“For me the early rounds are key. You can’t let Usyk get into six and seven unmarked. You’ve got to hurt him early. What he was so clever about in the first fight was he never touched the ropes, Usyk. Watch it back.”