Boxing legend Mike Tyson is one of the few people refusing to count Anthony Joshua out of his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk this summer.
The Brit was comprehensively defeated last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to lose his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA (super) heavyweight titles.
Through eight rounds it was a close fight, but the Ukrainian blew AJ in the final four rounds to secure the victory. In truth, it looked like he could have stopped AJ in the final round had he wanted to, but Usyk says his corner told him not to.
Speaking with Joe Rogan, Tyson, a former undisputed heavyweight champion, says Usyk’s amateur style ‘messes’ with Joshua, but AJ has the potential and tools to win.
“Usyk is an elite amateur boxer,” Tyson started. “He has that amateur boxing style that messes guys like Joshua because it’s too much movement. Feinting and all that stuff. And he’s [Joshua] not really an amateur.
“He can do so much, that’s why he never lost hope. He can learn so much, he’s still learning. That’s why he’s dangerous, Joshua, because he’s still f****** learning.
Most experts criticised Joshua’s decision to try and outbox Usyk. The two-time champion tried to feint and counter with the former undisputed cruiserweight champion when it was almost universally agreed he needed to enforce his size and power on the smaller man.
Tyson would like to see Joshua do more work with his jab this time around.
The ex-heavyweight champion said: “Joshua has got to learn to throw more punches like boom, boom – jabbing! He can’t just feint, the jab has got to constantly be out there and he got to turn it into something.
“Joshua has got to pick up the pace. Just a little, not much. Just a little. He’s got so much damn potential.”
Most of all, Tyson believes Joshua is not the walkover that many seem to be suggesting.
The fight looks likely for July 23 in Saudi Arabia and Tyson thinks the expectations of Joshua have worked against him.
He added: “Anthony Joshua’s no walkover. It’s just that for some reason, I don’t know, we expect a lot from Joshua. I guess maybe because English people are so behind him and we got caught up in the bandwagon too. Americans expect a lot out of Joshua.
“He’s going to have a beautiful life after boxing because he’s beautiful!”