Oleksandr Usyk compared to Muhammad Ali ahead of Anthony Joshua showdown

Oleksandr Usyk has been compared to Muhammad Ali ahead of his heavyweight clash with Anthony Joshua.

The Ukrainian will face his second contest in the blue-ribbon division against Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25, and will be looking to spring a shock and earn the unified world titles in front of a capacity crowd in north London.

He defeated another British heavyweight in Derek Chisora in his heavyweight debut after moving up from the cruiserweight division as undisputed champion, but has faced doubts from many over his size and power competing at the top weight.

But his manager Alexander Krassyuk has compared his fighter to Ali who was a 'smaller heavyweight' and reveals that the 34-year-old has taken 'inspiration' from the former great ahead of his world title bid.

"I must say for those who do not see the clear reality that Usyk is a heavyweight – Oleksandr is the same size, weight, reach as his idol, ‘The Greatest’ Muhammed Ali," he told MyBettingSites.

“Can anyone say Ali, the best of all time, was not a true heavyweight? So there is no problem there, if Ali can be beat the best at that size, so can Usyk.

“For AJ we wish him only the best, we wish him a wonderful training camp with no injuries or any other troubles.

“I respect him so much for his achievements in boxing, for his humble behaviour, being such a massive star, for his bright personality. But let the best man win in September and then we will do it again in the rematch."

Joshua has been backed to dethrone Usyk and move on to an undisputed clash with domestic rival Tyson Fury by many including former lightweight Luke Campbell who has delivered a 'too strong' verdict for his former Team GB teammate.

But Krassyuk has revealed that his fighter is 'confident' ahead of the clash, and has revealed that the rematch clause is considered by team Usyk as a 'fair condition'.

“The rematch is something that is not obligatory in the mandatory fight,” Krassyuk continued.

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“But we accepted the very fair conditions to agree to it.

“Oleksandr is very confident in his victory over AJ and how he will beat him – so therefore he easily agreed for the second bout because his mindset will be even more favourable after he wins the first.

“There were no other options for Oleksandr after he became the undisputed champion and defended against Tony Bellew. There was nothing else to prove at cruiserweight and staying there would for sure be a stagnation or even a step back.

“Now Alex has a huge motivation to get up at 5am every day and work as hard as he can for he has an objective in front of him. After just two bouts at heavyweight, Usyk signed the contract for a multiple belt showdown with the king of the heavyweights.”

Joshua's title defence comes after the breakdown of negotiations with Fury, but he has since revealed his willing to 'drop the belts' to secure a historic battle with the 'Gypsy King'.

He has also emphasised his desire to potentially 'take the knee' ahead of his huge heavyweight showdown in the capital later this year.

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