WBA, IBF, IBO, WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk is not expecting an easy fight this coming Saturday night, when he faces Anthony Joshua in a highly anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia.
Last September, Usyk was the underdog. He upset the odds by outboxing Joshua over twelve rounds to capture the unified crown at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
This time around, Usyk is widely viewed as the favorite - but he doesn't view the upcoming fight in a different light.
"The difference is that I'm going to have the belts with me," Usyk said to Sky Sports. "I will be walking second, people are going to be waiting for me.
"But I do realize that when I walk into the ring in the position of a champion, it doesn't make me feel like it'll be easier and it won't be easier in the ring. I realize that I have to do my job properly and it's not going to be an easy assignment for me."
There are two big differences in the second outing.
Joshua parted ways with longtime trainer Robert McCracken and hired veteran coach Robert Garcia.
And for his part, Usyk appears to have bulked up with more muscle mass - which Joshua's handlers believe is a calculated move to come forward in the fight.
Usyk won't reveal the details of his game plan, but he does admit to adding additional mass for the rematch.
"I will not tell you much about my strategy," Usyk said. "I am a bit heavier than I was last time. I'm not sure the weight I'm going to be walking to the ring, we're going to see it on Friday [at the weigh-in]. I'm not a big forecaster. You'll see Saturday night, I'll just do my job, what I have to do."