Israel Adesanya has urged Anthony Joshua to follow a gameplan from one of his past UFC title fights against Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua, 32, looks to become one of the few three-time heavyweight champions in boxing history on Saturday by winning his belts back against Usyk.
‘AJ’ has been expected to rematch to the Ukrainian ever since losing his titles to him last September. The fight is a pivotal moment in Joshua’s boxing career and UFC middleweight champion Adesanya recently gave his opinion on the clash.
Adesanya thinks Joshua should take inspiration from his title fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in 2019.
Adesanya won the vacant interim middleweight title fight by outpointing Gastelum after a hard-fought rounds, with the bout being voted as 2019’s UFC fight of the year.
Adesanya infamously mouthed the words “you can’t beat me, I’m prepared to die” before the final round of the fight.
Speaking with Sky Sports, the UFC champion said of Joshua: “He’s another special specimen as well. I think he said like I’m done trying to box. He kind of got angry.
“I’m like yeah, that fire. Bring out your ancestry, tap into that. I feel like if he does that, he’ll be a dangerous man. Just tap into it the way I did, when I said in the [Kevin] Gastelum fight, ‘I’m willing to die’.
Joshua, like Nigerian-born Adesanya, holds African heritage with his mother being Nigerian and father holding Nigerian and Irish ancestry. ‘AJ’ has also been told by boxing legend Evander Holyfield he can only beat Usyk if he is more aggressive in the fight.
Joshua was criticised for his gameplan against Usyk in their first meeting as he tried to outbox the crafty Ukrainian, a decision that led ‘AJ’ to part ways with his longtime trainer Robert McCracken and employ Robert Garcia for the rematch.
“It may not be as simple as that [being aggressive] but if they don’t take the fight to him, the chances are it ain’t going to happen for him,” Holyfield said. “There are two fights, there’s a little man’s fight and a big man’s fight and so which fight they fight will determine who wins. “If Joshua is going to win, he’s going to have to make him fight his fight.”