It probably doesn’t do to pay too much attention to what a boxer says when discussing upcoming fights, but if Oleksandr Usyk is as good as his word, he is looking to finish off Anthony Joshua pretty quickly in their rematch.

Having had Joshua rocking towards the end of their first meeting last September, Usyk seems determined to pick up where he left off this time.

“I am going to walk into the middle of the ring and look for the stoppage,” he said. “Exactly that, that’s the way it is going to be.”

Usyk has made his training for this fight harder than anything he has faced before, with a batch of huge sparring partners and some serious physical endurance tasks.

“It seems to me that during this preparation I made a trip to space maybe four or five times,” he said. “Sometimes it was really difficult for me.

“When I had a break between rounds, I was thinking, ‘What the hell am I doing? What do I need this for?’ I answered myself, ‘Because you keep working. That was your choice. So, go ahead’.

“You cannot underestimate this gentleman. He’s very strong, you cannot become an Olympic champion from nothing. How old is he? 32? It’s a perfect age for a heavyweight, because he still has a real possibility to learn.

“I’m not claiming I’m old, because I’m 35 – I’m also very young! If a fighter, an athlete treats his career with discipline, he can fight for a long time. I think Anthony has very good discipline.”

Joshua has a lot on his plate after being outboxed by Usyk last time, but the Ukrainian is not worried by what Joshua may or may not be doing and is preferring to concentrate on himself.

“Frankly, I don’t care much about what he does,” he said. “It’s up to him to decide what to learn, what to study, how to behave.

“I’m doing my job, I’m not even trying to think about his. This is not the type of information I really require. What I do require is the data from my team, from people we are working on – everything else is not helpful.

“Many people absorb information that is useless, that they have no idea how to use properly in their lives. According to my experience, this is just dirt, crap that remains in our heads and doesn’t help us to develop. It just stays there and keeps the space.

“Instagram, TikTok, all those social media, they are to make people stupid. They don’t want to read books, history, or literature. They don’t want to fill their brains with knowledge that’s going to be useful for them.”

Usyk has summoned the Cossack warrior side of him for this fight, but he believes boxing is something he was destined to do.

“Probably I was born to fight,” he said. “But everybody was born for a reason.

“If I was born to fight then you guys were born to tell these sports stories and explain us fighters to the world. My promoter Alex was born to be my promoter, to guide my career - and be my translator while I study English!

“Everyone was born for a reason, people who do not realize that often make mistakes in their lives. Each of us was born to fight for something.”

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.