Undefeated heavyweight contender Fabio Wardley is backing WBO, IBF, IBO, WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua to overcome mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Usyk dominated the cruiserweight division. He defeated all of the top boxers at the weight, which allowed him to unify all of the titles at the cruiserweight limit. He walked away from the 200-pound weight class in 2018, after knocking out Tony Bellew.
Upon moving up in weight, the WBO made Usyk their mandatory challenger to Joshua.
Usyk made his heavyweight debut in 2019, with a stoppage win over late replacement Chazz Witherspoon.
He followed that up with a very tough twelve round unanimous decision win over division veteran Derek Chisora. Most experts were very surprised with the amount of trouble that Usyk had with Chisora.
The belief by many is that Usyk is blown-up heavyweight.
Both Joshua and Usyk captured gold medals at the 2012 Olympics in London - Joshua at super heavyweight and Usyk at heavyweight.
Wardley believes size will matter when Usyk steps in the ring with Joshua.
“I think he’s found that adjusting period into the heavyweight slightly more difficult than he initially anticipated," said Wardley to Betfred TV's 'Boxing Show.
“He has not pulled off the best performances since he’s been in the heavyweight division, so to then jump in with someone like Joshua, it’s quite a big leap. Not to say that Usyk doesn’t have the experience to deal with that but just going off what we have seen, that is where I’d edge it.”
Joshua's last fight took place in December of 2020, when he knocked out the IBF's mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev.