British sports writer Steve Bunce told Charlie Stayt on BBC breakfast that he will be able to “tell in 10 seconds” whether Anthony Joshua will be able to win his fight against the heavyweight champion Usyk tonight. Mr Bunce, who has had “private sit downs with the pair” of fighters and has been following the build up closely, said he will be “panicked” if he sees Joshua breathing heavily before the fight begins.
Joshua and Usyk will take to the ring in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at around 10pm GMT for the second fight as the British boxer seeks to become the heavyweight champion of the world for the third time, joining the likes of Muhammed Ali and Lennox Lewis.
Mr Stayt said: “When these two boxers, Joshua and Usyk, take to the ring, can you kind of tell anything, from the body language, from the walk-in, from the way they look and the way they hold themselves, about what we are likely to see?”
Mr Bunce said: “Absolutely, Charlie. I started to judge them on Monday. I had private sit downs with the pair of them on Monday.
“I like to look into their eyes. I like to speak to people in their entourages. That’s Monday.
“Same thing on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, I like to have a look at them as close as possible. If they are eye-to-eye, I like to be no more than ten feet away.
“Tonight, when they walk to the ring, the way they get into the ring, if Joshua starts doing this [breathing heavily], I’ll be panicked.
“When he got in the ring when he lost to Usyk last time, he started talking and asking the security guard, a man called Clifton Mitchell, what he thought should happen in the fight.
“That was up on the ring apron. I will be able to tell, and within the first ten seconds, hand on heart, you send me your number and I will tell you within ten seconds who is going to win the fight.
“Actually, give me 20 seconds. I am convinced I can do it within 20 seconds tonight.”
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In yesterday’s weigh-in ahead of the fight, Usyk came in lighter than was expected, at 221.5 pounds, versus Joshua’s 244.5 pounds.
Footage released by Usyk’s team ahead of the fight showing the Ukrainian in training suggested he might be considerably heavier than the last fight, as experts commented that he was looking bulkier, but in the end he was only half a pound heavier.
Commenting on the weigh-in, the defending heavyweight champion said: “Your expectation is not every time met.”
Joshua, conversely, came in four and a half pounds heavier, seemingly confirming reports that he will be relying on his weight and size to win tonight’s fight.
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