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Boxing: Oleksandr Usyk - on possible AJ tactical changes, fighting weight and potential Tyson Fury showdown

Unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk speaks to bet365 as he prepares to do battle with Anthony Joshua in Jeddah this weekend.

Oleksandr Usyk has hinted at an undisputed showdown with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury if he retains his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO straps on Saturday night.

The Ukrainian is in a relaxed and confident mood in Saudi Arabia as he prepares to take on Anthony Joshua for a second time, after overcoming the two-time world champion in emphatic fashion last September.

Usyk, the former unified cruiserweight king, claimed world honours in the blue ribbon division in just his second fight at that level 11 months ago, and will look to cement himself as the number one heavyweight with a repeat victory over Joshua this weekend.

Speaking to bet365 ahead of the hotly-anticipated showdown at the King Abdullah’s Sports City arena, the 35-year-old refused to rule out the possibility of a winner-takes-all showdown with Fury, despite the ‘Gypsy King’s’ recent retirement announcement.

“I don’t feel like he is retired, but I will be ready to discuss my future plans on Sunday!” said Usyk, who also hopes to add the vacant Ring magazine belt to his collection in Jeddah.

Joshua’s decision to instate Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez as coaches at the expense of long-term trainer Rob McCracken following his defeat last year signals a drastic change in approach for the Watford-born fighter.

However, Usyk has played down those changes, and insists that his focus is only on himself.

“I don’t care – it is his business,” he said when asked whether the influence of Joshua’s new team would influence a more aggressive approach on Saturday.

“It is the business of Anthony, I do not think about Anthony, or about him changing his coach. It is not my problem, it is the problem of Anthony.”

Speculation has been rife that Usyk is set to tip the scales at a significantly heavier weight than the career-high 221.25 pounds he weighed in at last time around, with Amir Khan suggesting the Ukrainain had recently revealed to him a huge 15 kilogram gain.

Although when asked about his current weight, Usyk was understandably coy, saying: “I think my weight is over 100 kilos.”

Boxing fans don’t have long to wait until both fighters step on the scales, with the weigh-in scheduled to take place on Friday afternoon, 24 hours ahead of the big bout on Saturday night (scheduled for a 10:30pm UK time start).

Watch the full interview with Oleksandr Usyk here

By Mark Mothershaw

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