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Anthony Joshua relying on brain gain ahead of clash with Oleksandr Usyk

World heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is adamant that the power of deep practice will see him to glory at the home of Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspurs

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Anthony Joshua wants to twist Oleksandr Usyk’s melon in north London on Saturday after shaping his own brain with some mind-bending training practices.

The Brit puts his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO titles on the line against the former undisputed cruiserweight champion at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

And Joshua said: “During the pandemic, the basic necessities were perfect for me.

“I learned that I like basic things, I don’t need a lot to make me happy.

“I also learned about the power of the brain.

“Our brain is basically like plastic, forever changing, brain cells dying and developing new brain cells.



AJ lands another heavy right during his clash with Kubrat Pulev in December 2020
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Image:

POOL/AFP via Getty Images)




“So you can actually train yourself and tell yourself who you are and who you’d like to be.

“I’ve learned the power of deep practice. I am training on the edge to put in a defining performance on September 25 and beyond.

“It’s all boxing related because that’s what I dedicate myself to.

“But it’s not just about training to get fit, it’s about training to get better and finding out who you are.

“I have looked at the attributes, the feet positioning, the hand positioning, the feints, the controls, the defining performances, not the defining fights. You have to understand the difference.



Oleksandr Usyk celebrates his victory over Dereck Chisora in October 2020
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Image:

Dave Thompson Matchroom Boxing)




“The positive affirmations, deep practice, practicing on the edge, being vulnerable.

“All of these kind of things make a good fighter, it’s not just about being the big man.

“You can see I’ve thrown myself into improving at a deeper level, because if it was just about being big then I’d go in that ring and knock him out in the space of 20 seconds.

“The first punch and every opponent should drop.

“But what I realised over the years is that it’s not about that, it’s about angles, timing, setting punches up, concentration, understanding what’s coming back and outclassing an opponent in all those departments.









“If you follow you As, Bs and Cs it leads to your KOs.”

Part of his deep-digging routines saw Joshua sparring pretty much with one hand tied behind his back.

He added: “I was only allowed to use my left hand.

“It was really challenging against a southpaw who could do whatever he wanted, and that was hard.

“It was deep practice but I could not use my size or power.

“Putting yourself in vulnerable situations brings the best out of you.”









The smart money is on a Joshua win given his size and the fact Usyk is not a natural heavyweight.

But there is no doubting the Ukrainian’s technical ability and Joshua knows he cannot underestimate a man who one former opponent, Tony Bellew, says is the best boxer he will face.

Joshua said: “Bellew rates Usyk a lot and Usyk is a good fighter.

“As we know, he comes from a good pedigree — Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko, Vasiliy Lomachenko, ‘Papachenko’.

“He was the world champion in Baku, an Olympic gold medalist and we know the importance of amateur pedigree.

“But I can fight, that is for sure. I’ve been here, I’ve stayed here.

“If it was just about size, I wouldn’t be motivated to get out of bed, to train, to put the yards in, to fatigue myself physically, mentally, to recover in the space of six or seven hours and go back and do it again in the morning.”




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