Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua are set to meet in the ring at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening.
After Derek Chisora defeated Joshua in March 2020, the Ukrainian called Joshua.
They are not strangers but they have been forced to share a dressing room ahead of the Amateur World Boxing Championships 2011.
The young Ukrainian boxer impressed Paul Walmsley (Team GB’s World Class Program Coach), who oversaw Joshua in Baku.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Walmsley recalled Usyk’s dressing room antics and how he showcased ‘brilliant’ boxing skills during the championships.
“The room was about the size of a football pitch, where every country went in there and grabbed a few seats and claimed a little area to warm up in,” Walmsley recalled.
“It’s quite possible you would have had Joshua in there while Usyk has been warming up.
“Usyk was a character in the changing rooms. He had this crazy, crazy music blaring.
“He ran up and down the corridor singing the lyrics. He danced away, shouting the highest note to this insane music.
“He’s always like a character. Usyk was a crazy eccentric, but a brilliant boxer.”
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Joshua, who was then 21-years-old, had gone to Baku with no real expectations on his shoulders.
Although the Brit was not the most polished boxer Usyk would face, his raw power was evident.
Joshua was able to put on a show when he beat Roberto Cammarelle of Italy, the reigning World Champion and Olympic Champion.
Joshua faced Magomedrasul Majidov from Azerbaijan in the final.
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Usyk was in the crowd that day, and he made a bold prediction to his team after seeing Joshua lose in the gold medal bout: “It was a good final, you know. I watched it live,” he recalled to Sky Sports.
“I said to my team: ‘This guy is the future Olympic champion’.
“In 2012, Anthony became the Olympic champion.
“Why did I think this? I watched his fight. I watched Anthony. I saw him progress, progress, progress.”
Usyk had also been leaving his own impression on Team GB.
“Usyk had a reputation then. A lot of people, if they weren’t preparing boxers for the next fight, they would go and watch him,” Walmsley continued.
They will be battling in London, ten years after their paths crossed in Baku.