Oleksandr Usyk’s decision to recruit the services of Deontay Wilder’s trainer Malik Scott in the lead-up to his rematch against Anthony Joshua on August 20 has baffled fans. Scott is a former sparring partner of Usyk and has been brought into camp to help with preparations.
The unified heavyweight champion is believed to be sparring with Scott’s fighter Gerald Washington and Scott is said to be overseeing sessions. Posting to Instagram, he said: “PSA: I’m here in Dubai, UAE, training camp working with Heavyweight champions Alexander Usyk, Gerald Washington and other future champions.”
The decision seems to be a strange one considering Express Sport has been told that Usyk’s people don’t normally allow other coaches into the training camp. Responding to the news, fans had a mixed response.
One said: “Malik Scott training Usyk. This is fantastic news for AJ fans.”
Another tweeted: “Usyk brought you in! That’s interesting.”
One added: “Malik Scott in camp with Usyk for the AJ fight?”
Scott was widely praised for his work with Wilder ahead of the ‘Bronze Bomber’s’ third fight with Tyson Fury. The American puncher showed marked improvements in his boxing IQ and punch variety. But the choice to bring in a rival trainer to watch Usyk’s work has raised some eyebrows.
All of the noise coming out of Usyk’s camp suggests that the Ukrainian is looking extremely spiteful in sparring and is opting to involve himself in regular gym wars. According to Aamir Ali, the manager of his training partner Nursultan Amanzholov, ‘The Cat’ has been hurting far larger sparring partners and sending them home.
“He [Amanzholov] says there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It’s not easy to hurt Nursultan but he’s been on the receiving end a few times. But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home if they can’t stay in camp,” Ali told Sky Sports. “They can’t keep up.”
Ali added: “He said as soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan who was sitting in his hotel and said to him, ‘I want you sparring today.’ Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood. He was in a really angry mood, and wanted to go to war.”