Khabib Nurmagomedov gives verdict on Oleksandr Usyk ahead of Anthony Joshua fight

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Khabib has offered his view on Oleksandr Usyk’s entry into the heavyweight division   (Getty Images)
Khabib has offered his view on Oleksandr Usyk’s entry into the heavyweight division (Getty Images)

Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov rates Oleksandr Usyk ahead of Anthony Joshua prior to the pair’s world heavyweight title fight on Saturday.

Khabib also said that a match-up between undefeated fighters Usyk and Tyson Fury would be a better world championship bout, with Joshua not appearing in his top two of heavyweight boxers.

Joshua puts his IBF, WBA and WBO belts on the line against Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday, with the Ukrainian aiming to become a two-weight world champion after moving up from cruiserweight.

The southpaw became an undisputed champion in the cruiserweight division and secured a points victory over Dereck Chisora in just his second fight at heavyweight in October last year.

Retired MMA star Khabib praised Usyk ahead of that fight, and put the 34-year-old in his top four when asked to name the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

“Right now, I think Oleksandr Usyk, Vasyl Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez,” Khabib told Matchroom Boxing last year. “Oh sorry, Tyson Fury, too. Four guys. It’s very hard [to decide] who is the best.”

“I really want to see Usyk vs Fury. It’s gonna be a very good fight. He [Usyk] has very good skill and technique, Tyson Fury, too.

“He is not like other heavyweights, more technique, his footwork is very good, his conditioning is very good. I really wanna watch Usyk against Fury.”

Fury takes on Deontay Wilder for a third time on 9 October, and is expected to face Joshua in the pair’s long-awaited all-British clash should both men emerge from their bouts with their world titles intact.

But Usyk could upset that narrative if he claims a surprise victory over Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Briton is the favourite ahead of the fight, as he prepares for his first bout in front of a capacity crowd on home soil since 2018.

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