Mike Coppinger has cast doubt on the world heavyweight title aspirations of Oleksandr Usyk, and believes Anthony Joshua would knock him out if they met right now.
Usyk defeated Dereck Chisora on points on October 31 to cement his status as mandatory challenger for the WBO title. A belt currently held by Joshua.
The Ukrainian former cruiserweight king (now 18-0) is pushing hard for a shot at Joshua – who defends his titles against Kubrat Pulev on December 12.
But Coppinger, lead boxing analyst for subscription platform The Athletic, was unimpressed by the success against Chisora. And he believes Usyk would struggle against any of the heavyweight elite right now.
Speaking to Max Kellerman of ESPN, Coppinger said: “Right now it’s hard to pick Usyk over any of the elite, even it’s Andy Ruiz or Tyson Fury or even Deontay Wilder.
“He just doesn’t seem to react well to these heavyweight shots. He showed the same thing against a journeyman last year in Chazz Witherspoon, who hadn’t fought in years.”
.@maxkellerman and I also break down the futures of Naoya Inoue and Oleksandr Usyk, check it out! https://t.co/2OcMlIndNY
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) November 6, 2020
Usyk duly came through his test against a seasoned heavyweight veteran in Chisora. But Coppinger felt there was double trouble on show both in the Ukrainian’s ability to take heavyweight punches, and his lack of power at the higher weight.
Double trouble for Usyk at heavyweight
“I just don’t like the way he reacts. He doesn’t have that heavyweight pop right now,” he said.
“But look, he was 217lbs, maybe he needs to grow into the body a little bit.
“Maybe this is a case like Evander Holyfield where he develops as he goes on. Holyfield wasn’t exactly knocking guys out early on.
“But at the moment it’s hard for me to rate him as one of the best at heavyweight and I’m gonna drop him down my P4P list.”
As Usyk and his team push hard for that shot at Joshua – assuming the latter overcomes Pulev – Coppinger cautions it might not be a great strategy. He believes AJ would win if they meet next, and win very decisively.
“I like Anthony Joshua big if it happens next. I think he would win by knockout.”