Anthony Joshua 24-2 (22) is confident he has the right gameplan to reverse his points loss to Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13).
Brit Joshua, 32, lost his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles to Usyk last September and will rematch the 35-year-old Ukrainian southpaw in Saudi Arabia on August 20.
In the wake of the loss Joshua was criticised for failing to use his superior size to bully Usyk more, but his promoter Eddie Hearn says his charge is well aware of the changes he needs to make.
“I think he is confident about the gameplan, he’s confident about what he’s got to do, and I think he’s in a great place,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said to The Independent.
“He knows the mistakes he’s made in the past and he knows that he’s got to rectify them, but he’s very confident. I think he likes the addition of [new trainer] Robert Garcia and we’re all confident for the fight.”
Hearn is confident his man will win and fully expects a fight against WBC champion Tyson Fury 32-0-1 (23) in the future.
“If you lose, you lose to a pound-for-pound number one and then you regroup and you go again,” Hearn said.
“But obviously you want to win and if he wins, I believe the Tyson Fury fight will happen; if he doesn’t, he goes back to being a contender again.”
Another person backing Joshua to win is his gym mate Frazer ‘The Eraser’ Clarke.
“You know when you see what someone’s doing in the gym? I just do simple physics, yeah. The simple physics is this – if that man [Joshua] hits you on the jaw more than once, you go down,” Clarke told iFL TV.
“I don’t care who you are. It’s that simple. He punches frighteningly hard and fast.
“He’s gotta get in position to do that, get his balance right, [get] the psychological side of things right.
“Sometimes I probably talk with my heart and not my head – he’s my boy, and I want him to win. I’m praying for him to win and I’m behind him every step of the way.”
In a separate interview with BBC 5 Live Boxing, Hearn cited Derek Chisora’s close decision loss to Usyk as the blueprint for victory.
“You’ve got to push him back, just like Chisora did,” Hearn said. “Watch the Chisora fight, [the] few first rounds. [Usyk] was up against the ropes. You gotta get him back there. You gotta rugby tackle him back to those ropes. [Usyk will be a] sitting duck, sitting duck.
“You can’t be careless against a great counterpuncher like Oleksandr Usyk. Listen, Usyk may come out on the front foot and go on and push AJ back. You saw that in Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury (rematch).
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“For me the early rounds are key. You can’t let Usyk get into six and seven unmarked. You’ve got to hurt him early. What he was so clever about in the first fight was he never touched the ropes, Usyk. Watch it back.”