Oleksandr Usyk says he is expecting Saturday’s world heavyweight clash against Anthony Joshua in Jeddah to be a continuation of their first fight that the Ukrainian won in London.

Usyk, who had dressed like The Joker in the build-up to their first meeting, came in full Cossack costume for Wednesday’s head-to-head press conference at the Shangri-La hotel beside the Red Sea to show his warrior side.

But while the first fight, last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when Usyk claimed the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles, ended with Joshua under heavy bombardment, Usyk doesn’t feel like he will be starting from the beginning this time.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a new bout,” Usyk said. “The last bout will be continued, round 13, round 14, round 15, however long the fight will last.

“We learnt about each other in the first fight. He learnt about me and I learnt about him. We have had enough time to study each other and on Saturday night, it will be a great, great fight.”

It is not the first time that Usyk has called up his Cossack ancestry – when he won World Amateur gold and Olympic gold in 2011 and 2012, he even followed his win with a traditional dance. He also finished the press conference in Jeddah by belting out a patriotic Ukrainian song, along with members of his team.

“This fight is very important for me, my team and my country,” he said.

“We were born to compete for life, for belts, for everything.

“The one who does not compete does not live. All our lives are competitions for anything, for something for everybody. That’s why we are competing.”

Joshua came close to admitting his career might be on the line when he spoke.

“It’s a massive must win,” he said. “I like the pressure. It’s been tough. Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez and the rest of the team have pushed me and challenged me.

“It’s about staying focused and getting the job done and God willing, I will be victorious.”

Joshua said he was no concerned about his old belts, he just want to beat Usyk.

“Competition is key,” he said. “You set a goal and I have goals I want to achieve on the night and I’m going to be disciplined in following them through.

“So, yeah, that’s competition with myself. The belts mean something, but that comes at the end of the process and I’m not going to skip the process.”

Egis Klimas, Usyk's manager, revealed some of the endurance activities in training that Usyk had done, saying he had cycled 100km in 45C heat, swum 10km in a pool over five hours the day before their London press conference and held his breath under water to the point of passing out.

Alexander Krassyuk, his promoter, said Usyk had turned into a cyborg.

“He went through training camp and it made him stronger,” Krassyuk said. “It was an extremely complicated challenge for him but he decided to take it.”

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.