Anthony Joshua ‘will have to be really lucky’ to beat Oleksandr Usyk who ‘has his number’ – but Tyson Fury and Joe Joyce can beat heavyweight champion, says David Price.
Usyk won the WBA, WBO and IBF world heavyweight titles at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September by outfoxing Joshua and claiming a wide decision.
A rematch is pencilled in for April this year, potentially in Cardiff, with Joshua hopeful he can replicate Muhammad Ali and become a three-time heavyweight champion.
Yet his adversary is a wily competitor, skilled beyond belief, and accustomed to high-pressure scenarios having won all four cruiserweight titles and won Olympic Gold himself.
Price, who sparred against Joshua before hanging up his gloves, believes the 34-year-old from Kiev is just too evasive and too sharp for the Brit and predicted a repeat performance.
“Not against Usyk, I just think Usyk has got his number,” Price said.
“Every fighter has an opponent where that style of fighting and that man in particular, where you’re just going to have be really lucky to win the fight.
“You can be lucky, but luck also creates itself with mistakes that are made by the opponent and I do not think Usyk is someone that will make the mistake where he will put himself in a position to be knocked out by an Anthony Joshua punch.
“I think he is too switched on, I think he is too sharp, he’s so clever and it’s like he is a step ahead all the time – it’s like he is thinking two, three steps ahead all the time.
“I don’t think Anthony Joshua can deal with that.”
Standing at 6ft 3ins, many feared Usyk would be too small to compete at heavyweight and he initially struggled against Chazz Witherspoon and Dereck Chisora.
Yet the slick southpaw looked like a seasoned heavyweight veteran against Joshua in September, repeatedly sending shuddering left-hands through Joshua’s system.
However, 6ft 8ins Price believes WBC champion Fury and equally gargantuan Joe Joyce would have the necessary physical attributes to seriously trouble the cerebral superstar.
“It’s not textbook boxing which a well-schooled fighter can read, his unique in his fighting style, and the other person who has a similar way of fighting and you’ve got to have a great engine in Joe Joyce.
“I think big Joe Joyce can cause Usyk problems with his size, his strength, his fitness and how unconventional he fights, even throwing.
“Out of Uysk and Fury, you’ve got two men who don’t know how to lose since they were amateurs.
“But I think Fury just finds a way to win every time and I will have to stick with him.”