Do maintain your speed. Do not pile on muscle.
Oleksandr Usyk wants to be just the third boxer in history to become cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion – David Haye achieved the feat, and now explains how.
Unbeaten Usyk makes his heavyweight debut against Tyron Spong on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports, beginning his pursuit of dominance in another division after becoming undisputed cruiserweight champion.
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October 13, 2019, 2:00am
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David Haye said: “I’ve always thought he has a great chance because he’s so skilful.
“His defence is the most important thing as a cruiserweight moving up to heavyweight.
“You’ve got to be super tough or have a great defence, or punch extremely hard. Evander Holyfield was super tough – he was able to block, ride and parry punches.
“I punched extremely hard.
“Usyk is different – he is not a one-punch specialist, he throws clusters of punches. He is a southpaw so is tricky to hit clean. He punches from different angles.
“This will be enough to beat 90 percent of heavyweights but whether he can do it against someone who is 6’6” remains to be seen. It looks like he can.”
From cruiserweight to heavyweight
|Haye||6’3”||78”||15st 2lbs vs Klitschko|
|Holyfield||6’3”||78”||15st 5lbs vs Lewis|
What advice would you have for Usyk?
David Haye said: “Maintain your speed. Do not try to bulk up – just don’t weight cut. Be the best version of yourself.
“I didn’t try to put on weight. When I boxed Enzo Maccarinelli at cruiserweight I was 200lbs, when I boxed Wladimir Klitschko at heavyweight I was 210lbs. That was 2008 to 2011, I only put on 10lbs.
“I never bulked up to the division, I just did not cut weight.”
You weighed-in between 15 and 16 stone during your heavyweight heyday, two or three stone lighter than Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury…
David Haye said: “That is a good weight for Usyk. Anything over 16st may affect his speed, timing, rhythm or distance and he can’t afford to give up any of that.
“He needs to be fast and to punch harder – to do that, you don’t put on weight. You remain agile and small.
“A bigger heavyweight can only impose his strength if he is able to land on you. If he can’t land, it doesn’t make a difference.”
What is the most difficult aspect of becoming a heavyweight?
David Haye said: “The sparring. You have to condition yourself to heavyweight sparring. I used to bring in big heavyweights. It is different sparring cruiserweights to sparring heavyweights. It can break you down – you get hit on the shoulders, on the arms, there is a higher chance of injury because the impact is bigger.
“When you land your own shots? Punching someone who is 14st is very different to punching someone who is 19st. There is more pressure on your own hands. There are more bruises on your hands, more impact on your shoulders, more chance of damage.
“He must stay injury-free.”
David Haye said: “That proves he can handle a big guy. It was only a three-round fight but Usyk was comfortable and the size didn’t make a difference. That was as an amateur, and it was a while ago.”
Saturday’s opponent Spong is a serious test for Usyk…
David Haye said: “Spong, as a kickboxer, was amazing. He is heavy-handed and is a real heavyweight. Spong is also relatively fresh. I’ve known of him for a while, I spoke to him about making the transition into boxing in 2016. I told him that he had a great shot at it, with his short and compact style and his quick hands.
“He is a seasoned kickboxer whose speciality was always his punches.