Buddy McGirt considers Saturday’s IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois “real competitive” – as long as Dubois can fight at a high pace.
The two fight at Stadion Wroclaw in Poland, two days after Ukrainian Independence Day, on an occasion for which the 25-year-old Dubois is the significant underdog.
Dubois is fighting for the first time under his new trainer Don Charles. He has also recruited, to aid his preparations, Usyk’s former trainer James Ali Bashir.
Ukraine’s Usyk, 36, is regardless widely recognised as the world’s finest fighter, and to such an extent that there are those – unlike McGirt, the trainer of Dillian Whyte, and formerly of Derek Chisora, among Usyk’s former opponents – who expect him to win with ease.
“That’s a real competitive fight,” the American told ProBox TV. “I honestly like both guys.
“Dubois can hit; he’s a nice, come-forward puncher. But Usyk is like – it’s hard to explain, he’s like a big [Vasyl] Lomachenko. He moves a lot; he’s hard to hit. He doesn’t fight like a heavyweight; I would say he fights like a smaller guy. He comes in and he pops you; moves around.
“Dancing around the ring – he’s not really standing still letting you get punches off. Usyk is a hard fight, and if you don’t have the stamina to keep up with him, he’s gonna destroy you.”
McGirt had been training Whyte for a fight with Anthony Joshua and Callum Smith to challenge Artur Beterbiev until Whyte’s failed drugs test led to his being replaced as Joshua’s opponent by Robert Helenius and an injury to Beterbiev forcing that fight's postponement until January.
When Joshua was still preparing for Whyte – in what represented his second fight under his new trainer Derrick James – he said that Whyte was continuing to change trainers because those trainers were struggling to improve him, and asked of those comments, the experienced McGirt responded: “Well, if I’m not mistaken he’s been changing trainers as well, so [laughs] – I guess they’re in the same boat when it comes to that.
“[Whyte] didn’t get that far without being able to fight. I mean, I just saw little things – I thought that once we fight we can work on. Little defensive things, and setting up shots, you know? Dillian’s looking for the bomb, every punch. And it’s like, ‘You ain’t gotta look for the bomb every punch; you gotta set it up sometimes’.
“You know, he was doing very well. I mean sometimes he gets where he wants to knock a guy out, and he’ll throw a punch from Mississippi to London, you know what I mean? On the other hand, you know, he’ll look at me and laugh. He’ll throw a wild punch, look at me and laugh.”