OLEKSANDR USYK was an easier opponent for Anthony Joshua to beat than former heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz.
Slick southpaw Usyk ended Joshua’s second reign as united heavyweight champion with a boxing champion class at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September.
AJ did not manage to effectively take advantage of its height, range and power advantages over the previously undisputed cruiserweight champion.
And former heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon believes the Tottenham match was stylistically an easier match for the Briton than his fateful encounter with Andy Ruiz Jr. in June 2019.
Witherspoon, 63, told SunSport: “I think the Ruiz match was the tougher match the Usyk match was [an] easier battle for Joshua to win.
“He could have felt that it would be easy to fight Usyk.
“Usyk gave him more fight than he had expected.”
Witherspoon believes Joshua would be ready for a Battle of Britain with Tyson Fury if he had used more defensive footwork and setups for his big right hand.
He said: “The fight was so easy to win, all he needed was someone to show him some basic defense.
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“He should have drilled his right hand, it’s a little hard for me to explain, but I could show him. I could practically show him. ”
Witherspoon – who is a two-time world heavyweight champion after winning the WBC title in 1984 and the WBA title in 1986 – also believes that Joshua was not his usual confident self before the dust.
The American added: “He lacked confidence for some reason or he felt it would be an easier fight for him. Unsick came to fight!
“He was ready to fight against a south paw and use his right hand.
“But there’s a lot more to this than just throwing the right hand.
“He also needs to get on the outside of his lead, Southpaw’s right hand.
“Go outside and go inside. I can tell you there are not many boxers who do that.”
Joshua, 32, will bid to tear the United titles from the clutches of Usyks in a potential do-or-die rematch early next year.
A date for the couple’s second dance has not been finalized, but promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that the match is underway for the spring.
The Matchroom Boxing boss said: “I think it will be realistic in late March, early April.
“Both guys are probably resting, though AJ wants to prepare a little more because he wants it right.
“It was a well-documented journey to America, just to really see, see, learn and see.
“I think he will go out there again towards the end of the year.
“We will start talking to Team Usyk over the next few weeks and determining the venue.”
Joshua is looking for revenge on his teammate from the London 2012 Olympian and says to iFL TV: “For me I have one thing in my mind – it’s war, it’s murder, it’s going out there and hurting the guy and taking his soul to the case where he will give up.
“I’m done losing. I’m done trying to learn the sweet science. He may be thrown to the floor in the next fight because this is war.
“It’s just straight war, I’m annoyed. I’m boiling up talking about it – it’s that passion to win.”
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Eddie Hearn says Joshua vs. Usyk 2 is likely to be in late March-April