I’VE BEEN one of Daniel’s main sparring partners and it’s been hard. Really hard. We’ve been training at high altitude in Spain (Grenada) and it’s not easy when you are at that altitude and have Daniel coming at you for round after round.
I have been in camp with Daniel since the start of May. We started in London and then came out to Spain at the end of June, early July. I’m one of the only original sparring partners who have made it this far. Daniel has been doing jobs on people. He’s been taking out sparring partners and sending them home. Daniel is a savage. He has been hurting people. It’s proper sparring. It’s a fight, simple as that. Whatever Daniel does, he gives it 100 per cent. That’s his attitude – and it makes it hard for his sparring partners! He doesn’t mess around.
Daniel has had top-quality sparring. We have had Olympians here and other quality southpaws who are giving him good rounds, making him think, making him work. Moses Itauma was out here for a couple of weeks and then he had to go back because he had a fight in Telford the other week. We do technical sparring as well as open sparring. There’s been more open sparring than technical sparring and Daniel has done a lot of rounds.
The open spars are four in, four out with three different sparring partners. I know people talk about Usyk’s fitness, but Daniel has a phenomenal engine as well. He’s been doing 12 rounds with three different sparring partners at high altitude for weeks. They can both maintain a high work-rate for 12 rounds, but the difference is, Usyk is a boxer and Daniel is a power puncher.
For me, the only heavyweights in the world who can beat Usyk are Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Daniel. Tyson has the size and the skills and Daniel and Wilder have the punch.
Anthony Joshua held back against Usyk in both their fights and there’s no way Daniel will do that. He doesn’t fear Usyk at all.
I’m not sure of the game plan, but I don’t think he will try to go jab-for-jab with Usyk. I can’t see Daniel trying to box him the way AJ did.
Being hit by Daniel is like being hit by a train. Even when he hits you on the arms, it hurts. You still feel it when he’s wearing 18oz gloves and if he hits Usyk with those 10oz gloves on it will be good night. Daniel is a very good finisher. If he hits you, he hurts you and if he hurts you, he finishes you off.
I watched the Joshua-Usyk rematch the other night and AJ had his successes. I think Daniel is more powerful.
(Coach) Don (Charles) knows Usyk inside out. He knows what he does in the ring and outside it as well. Don has studied everything Usyk does, every single detail. He knows what he does and how he reacts to things.
Don knows he is up against a master boxer and to beat him, Daniel has to be well prepared. Don and Daniel are putting everything into this camp. If he doesn’t pull it off, it won’t be for the lack of trying, but I’m sure he will. Daniel only needs one shot – and he’s got 36 minutes to land it.
Everyone is writing off Daniel because Usyk is regarded as the best of the best, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but that doesn’t bother Daniel at all. He doesn’t really check the internet anyway, but even if he did, he would still be confident. He’s just focused on doing the job. He knows he has the tools to do it.
Daniel is a quiet character and doesn’t shout about what he’s going to do. He keeps himself to himself, but he’s confident he will beat Usyk. He has a quiet confidence in himself that he is going to pull it off.