Former Trainer Heaps Praise On Oleksandr Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk

James Ali Bashir, the former trainer of Oleksandr Usyk has nothing but positive things to say about the heavyweight champ.

Usyk is set to box Tyson Fury on Saturday in Saudi Arabia in a highly-anticipated bout. During their time together, Bashir worked with Usyk for 10 fights and he has confidence that Usyk will do well against Fury.

The trainer expects Usyk to put rounds in the bank early on with his left hand and cruise to the win that way.

“Throughout his training camp I would have told him, ‘Whoever wins the first four rounds will secure the victory’,” said Bashir (via BoxingScene). “I expect Oleksandr Usyk to utilize the overhand left. Tyson seemed susceptible to that particular punch fighting Otto Wallin, so I would employ that strategy – a lot of overhand lefts off of Usyk’s jab. He should jab to Tyson’s chest, and immediately following that jab go over the top with the left hand. If he can open one of those cuts it’ll be a good thing for him, because it’ll slow Tyson down some – not to mention if he opens up a couple of those cuts. If Usyk can put those rounds in the bank I’m sure he can secure the title.

“He can secure the win based on those four or five rounds. The one that wins those first four or five rounds most likely will win the fight. He’s a phenomenal fighter. He’s very educated; he’s very dedicated. He stands a very, very good possibility of pulling this thing off and winning the fight. If ever there was a guy that was born to box, Oleksandr Usyk is that guy. He’s a dedicated guy; he’s a focused guy; he’s a hands-on guy. He exemplifies courage; stamina; willingness. He’s just a game guy. Overall, he’s very, very, very concentrated inside the ring,” Bashir continued.

“To box – especially when it’s a big challenge for him, and Tyson Fury is a big challenge to him – this is the kind of fight Oleksandr will get up for because he loves a challenge. [His footwork and reflexes] will come into play in this fight. Reflexes; timing; footwork; speed; durability, and his ability to take a punch. Oleksandr Usyk is a very strong individual; very, very strong. To be a very, very small heavyweight like he is – he’s very durable. He takes a good punch, and he can deliver a good punch. I expect for him to open up one of the many cuts that Tyson Fury has had on him – that he’ll open one or more of those many cuts. He gives a lot of angles; not to mention, he’s boxing him from the southpaw stance. Fury switches a lot, but I don’t think that’s ever helped him,” Bashir added.

Oddsmakers currently have Oleksandr Usyk vs. Tyson Fury as a pick’em.

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