Anthony Joshua has been warned Oleksandr Usyk is looking dangerous as he prepares for their rematch next month and is sending sparring partners packing, it has been gathered.
The British heavyweight takes on the Ukrainian in a rematch for the WBA, IBF and WBO titles in Saudi Arabia.
The clash will take place in Saudi Arabia as Joshua looks for revenge against Usyk, who outpointed him with ease when they met back in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
But any chance of Usyk getting complacent seem to have vanished with the world champion preparing with brutal sparring sessions with the likes of Kazakhstan unbeaten heavyweight Nursultan Amanzholov.
“He [Amanzholov] says there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It’s not easy to hurt Nursultan but he’s been on the receiving end a few times. But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home, if they can’t stay in camp,” Amanzholov’s manager Aamir Ali told Sky Sports. “They can’t keep up.”
Amanzholov is one of many sparring partners working with Usyk at his Dubai training camp.
The Ukrainian left his homeland to prepare for the fight after spending weeks protecting his family amid the Russian invasion.
“He says [Usyk] is in tremendous shape for this camp,” Amanzholov’s manager said.
“He said as soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan, who was sitting in his hotel and said to him: ‘I want you sparring today.’
“Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood.
“He was in a really angry mood, wanted to go to war. Anthony Joshua’s in trouble.”
But this is nothing new as for the training camp ahead of the first fight, Usyk was sending sparring partners home because they couldn’t keep up.
“He was sending heavyweights, six foot six and whatnot back home. Nursultan was the one of the only heavyweights that he kept on throughout the whole camp,” Ali added.
“Because he would actually challenge him and give him a very tough time and from what I understand, there were points where Nursultan was being told by Usyk: ‘No I need you to come on harder.’ Like don’t hold back on me, just go to war.”