Oleksandr Usyk has stepped forward to support his former rival, Anthony Joshua, amidst the overwhelming criticism directed at the British boxer.
Usyk had previously stripped Joshua of his world titles in 2021, and in their rematch in 2022, he successfully defended the belts by defeating him once again. Despite their competitive history, Usyk has now come to Joshua's defense in light of the harsh scrutiny he has been facing.
After making a cautious comeback with a victory over Jermaine Franklin in April, Anthony Joshua is now setting his sights on a highly anticipated clash against Deontay Wilder scheduled for December.
Following Joshua's recent performance, both fans and pundits have been vocal about their views, with many expressing doubt about his chances of defeating Wilder.
However, the individual who has faced Joshua in the ring on two occasions is resolute in his belief that the critics are unfairly harsh in their assessments.
Usyk told Boxing King Media: “I think he just needs a little more time to recover.
"He’s a great fighter and a great personality.
"And who are those people who judge him? Who are the judges?
"Have they ever entered the ring? Have they ever trained and felt that pain?
"They have no right to say so.
“If you want to talk about a fighter, you have to at least once in your life get into the ring and have a sparring session.
"At least for one round, for three minutes. Then you will have the right.”
One such judge who has indeed entered the ring is Carl Froch.
Froch told talkSPORT last week: "When I'm asked the question, 'What are your thoughts on the Deontay Wilder fight?'
"The way Anthony Joshua fights at the minute, which is a bit nervous, a bit scared, he's not offensive, he's not aggressive, he's not tenacious like he used to be.
"Since he lost to Usyk, and the Ruiz loss actually I think took a piece of his soul and he can't seem to get any momentum, he's not brave, he's almost like the [Cowardly] Lion out of the Wizard of Oz.
"I just feel like he needs some help, he needs the right cornerman, the right training camp and the right sparring.
"I think the Dillian Whyte fight's a good fight for him. If he does a job on him, people are gonna start to believe and think, 'Okay, he's ready.'
"But if he jumps in with Wilder straight away, he's getting knocked out."