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Boxing: Ben Whittaker - AJ needs to 'play it dirty' to overcome Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia

Exciting prospect Ben Whittaker speaks to bet365 and pinpoints how AJ can recapture world titles after being added to 'Rage on the Red Sea' undercard.

Ben Whittaker believes Anthony Joshua needs to ‘play it dirty’ to unravel difficult opponent Oleksander Usyk when the pair meet in their hotly-anticipated rematch in Saudi Arabia this Saturday.

The unbeaten Ukrainian heads to the Middle East as the well-backed favourite to retain his titles after dismantling Joshua in stunning fashion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

But Whittaker, who has been confirmed to feature on the undercard in Jeddah, believes the forthcoming showdown could end in far more triumphant fashion for Joshua, providing he plays to his strengths.

“AJ is a natural heavyweight, whereas Usyk isn’t, so that’s got to play a factor in the fight,” Whittaker exclusively told bet365 in the build-up to the event.

“At the end of the day it’s a fight, do whatever you can to unravel him. Hit him on the hip, the back of the head, elbow him, you’ve got to play it dirty.

“But it’s all different styles, he’s definitely got to put it on him, but in a clever way. Smart pressure, feinting, leaning on him, using his weight to his advantage.”

“Usyk is a very respectable man, he likes to touch gloves and all that. You can do that afterwards, when you’re in there it’s a fight.”

Joshua bounced straight back from his only other professional defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr three years ago, and will be looking to repeat that feat against the former undisputed cruiserweight king on Saturday night.

Victory over Usyk, who comes in to the fight fresh from service in the Ukrainian military earlier in the year, would cement the Watford-born star’s legacy in the sport, and see him emulate heavyweight greats Muhammed Ali and Lennox Lewis in becoming a three-time world champion.

“He has got a point to prove now, he’s got a lot of people doubting him and he will want to prove them all wrong,” Whittaker, who sparkled on his professional debut against Greg O’Neill last month added.

“This is a fight all about mind-set, it’s whoever goes in there with the right mind-set. I know Usyk has just come back from the war, so he’s going in there with a real mind-set!

“I’m rooting for AJ, he’s got a new team now and hopefully the game plan comes through.”

Light-heavyweight contender Whittaker will fight in his second professional bout on Saturday night as he takes on the unbeaten Croatian Petar Nosic, just three weeks after stopping O’Neill in scintillating fashion in Bournemouth.

By Darren Durber

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