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Boxing: Frazer Clarke - 'If AJ does what he is told to do, he will knock Usyk out'

Heavyweight contender speaks to bet365 ahead of 'Rage on the Red sea' this weekend, and highlights what Anthony Joshua has to do to reign supreme in Saudi Arabia.

Frazer Clarke believes Anthony Joshua possesses the right ammunition and mind-set to end Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight title reign in Jeddah this weekend.

The Ukrainian managed to prize the WBA, WBO and IBF titles straps away from the Watford-born fighter in just his third fight on the heavyweight stage last year, courtesy of a unanimous decision.

Whilst Usyk is the well-backed favourite to retain his titles on Saturday night, Clarke is adamant that the rematch will be a far closer affair, and even reckons his stablemate could end bout well inside the distance.

“It is going to be difficult to beat him because Usyk is very good, but I believe that if Anthony does what he is told to do then he will win it – he will knock him out,” he revealed to bet365 ahead of the event.

“I’ve seen big improvements, I’ve seen a flip in mentality, I’ve seen new trainers come in with new ideas and I’ve seen him adhere to those ideas.

“The old school style of Robert Garcia is something that will really help him. He is a straight-talking ex-world champion, who has trained world champions.

“Look, it is a tough fight, and no matter how you butter it up, it is going to be tough against Usyk, but I guarantee this is a closer fight than the first one – and, as I say, if he does what he is told to do, he will win it.”

Joshua will be hoping his decision to part-ways with long-term trainer Rob McCracken and undertake guidance from Mexican coach Robert Garcia reaps its rewards in the Middle East.

The 2012 Olympic champion has tasked McCracken’s assistant Angel Fernandez and the esteemed Garcia with transforming his fortunes against Usyk after labouring to a crushing defeat just under 12 months ago.

“I can’t discredit the previous work because Robert Garcia hasn’t come in and flipped it on its head,” Clarke added.

“What they were doing before was very good, but, to have the experienced eye of Robert in your corner, a man who takes no bull****.

“What Robert comes in and says is exactly what is happening in the gym. If not, then he gets on the plane and goes back – it is that simple. He is a non-nonsense coach.

“Sometimes you just need somebody to come in and put their foot up your backside and Robert is the perfect kind of man to come in and do that.

“With him you do what you are told. There are no shortcuts, you can’t just say I don’t want to do another couple of minutes on the bag – if you are told to do it, you do it, and that’s that.

“He isn’t coming in to work wonders, he has come in to drill certain things in to Anthony. If he takes it on board, and sticks to his game plan, he wins the fight.”

By Mark Mothershaw

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