Usyk challenge vs. Joshua evokes heavyweight memories of Ali vs Liston
Next month’s world heavyweight title clash between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua compares to when Muhammad Ali fought Sonny Liston.
In 1964, Olympic gold medalist Ali was four years into his professional career, having turned pro at today’s equivalent of cruiserweight.
Adding 18 pounds in weight by the time his first world heavyweight title challenge came around against Sonny Liston, Ali knew he had it all to do.
Liston was naturally the bigger guy. Therefore, Ali bulked up to his biggest weight year of just over 2010 pounds.
We all know what happened in their first meeting. Liston retired on his stool as Ali “shook up the world”.
Surprisingly for the rematch, a more confident Ali dropped back down to 206 and could still get the bigger man out of there in one round.
Fast forward 55 plus years, and we now come to Usyk versus Joshua. A cruiserweight king is going up against the man with the belts.
Usyk’s manager Alexander Krassyuk believes his challenger holds similarities to Ali ahead of the September 25th battle in London.
Krassyuk’s words come as questions about how Usyk will cope with a massive weight difference on the night.
“I must say for those who do not see a clear reality that Usyk is a heavyweight? – Oleksandr is the same size, weight, reach as his idol, “The Greatest” Muhammed Ali,” Krassyuk told mybettingsites.co.uk.
“Can anyone say that Ali, the best of all time, was not a true heavyweight? – So there is no problem there. If Ali can beat the best at that size, so can Usyk.
“There were no other options for Oleksandr after he became the undisputed champion and defended against Tony Bellew.
“There was nothing else to prove at cruiserweight, and staying there would for sure be stagnation or even a step back.”
Adding respectfully, Krassyuk said: “For AJ, we wish him only the best. We wish him a wonderful training camp with no injuries or any other troubles.
“I respect him so much for his achievements in boxing, for his humble behavior, being such a massive star, for his bright personality.”
The Joshua vs. Usyk undercard is set for a big night at Tottenham Stadium in just under one month.