Oleksandr Usyk v Daniel Dubois: Pundits and pros give predictions for heavyweight world title fight

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Venue: Tarczynski Arena, Poland Date: Saturday, 26 August
Coverage: Follow live text coverage and reaction on BBC Sport website & app from 21:00 BST

Daniel Dubois aims to produce an all-time great upset against Oleksandr Usyk in Poland on Saturday.

The English heavyweight faces unbeaten champion Usyk, who holds the WBO, IBF and WBA (Super) heavyweight belts.

Dubois, 25, has youth on his side, but 36-year-old Usyk is unbeaten in 20 bouts and expects to fight in front of thousands of Ukrainian fans who now reside in Poland because of the war with Russia.

Usyk has made a habit of breaking British hearts of late, dethroning Anthony Joshua and beating him again in their rematch last year.

Dubois is a huge underdog with no world championship experience and a big-punching style. Can he pull off an upset that would go down in history, or will Usyk keep following his dream of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion?

Here are predictions from some big names in the world of boxing:

Dubois’ former trainer Shane McGuigan: “Dubois has to approach this fight like a four-round contest, like Mike Tyson used to approach most of his fights. If it goes past four rounds then we have to find out what plan B is about and learn to get through it.

“But they have to have the mindset ‘If I clip or touch you, you’re going to sleep’ – so you have to let your hands go in combinations, not let them set on the jab, and really stick it on Usyk. He’s definitely got a puncher’s chance, for sure.”

Unified light-middleweight champion Natasha Jonas: “Unfortunately I will have to say Usyk. I just think he’s too skilled for Dubois at this point. But hats off to him for stepping up.”

Former world featherweight champion Kid Galahad: “I’m going with Usyk. He has the tools to win widely and decisively. A sharp, complete and brilliant fighter. But this is heavyweight boxing and one punch can change any contest.”

Mandatory challenger for the IBF world heavyweight title, Filip Hrgovic: “Dubois’ experience, skillset and speed is not the same as Usyk’s and this is why Usyk is the big favourite. Usyk outboxed Joshua easily, and Joshua is quicker than Dubois.

“Of course you have to give Dubois a puncher’s chance – he is a big guy with a good straight right hand. But Usyk is the favourite to win this fight.”

Former light-middleweight champion Liam Smith: “I don’t think Dubois can do it. I fancy Usyk heavily in that fight. I think he’s just too good for Daniel Dubois.”

British flyweight Maisey Rose Courtney: “It’s a tricky one. Dubois has the one-punch knockout power but Usyk is a masterful fighter. He is unbelievable – in my eyes one of the best ever. If it’s a knockout it’s Dubois’ night. If it goes the distance, Usyk will give him a boxing lesson.”

Former world lightweight champion Anthony Crolla: “You have to give Dubois a puncher’s chance but it’s probably hard to look past any more than that. Going on recent form, Usyk has been looking really good and Dubois struggled last time out against Kevin Lerena.

“The movement is going to be a big problem. If Dubois is to pull off a big upset, which is exactly what it will be, he has to land early to get the respect off Usyk. I believe Dubois is a confidence fighter – he has to have a good start to have any chance of winning it.”

Former world light-middleweight champion Hannah Rankin: “I’m going with Usyk on points. I think he’s settling to the bigger weight and technically he’s brilliant.”

Heavyweight contender Frazer Clarke: “I’m definitely rooting for Dubois and if he does land a big shot it could finish anyone in world boxing. But I have to put Usyk as the strong favourite. Look at what he’s done in his career, who he’s beat, how he boxes and how good he is. I’m his biggest fan. I’d say Usyk late stoppage, just by accumulation.”

BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce: “Dubois has got a better boxing brain than people give him credit for and I can paint a case for him winning.

“But let’s get this right – it will be a massive shock if he does return to the United Kingdom as unified heavyweight world champion. It will be up there with Lloyd Honeyghan beating Donald Curry nearly 37 years ago.”

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