Exclusive: Darren Barker makes prediction for Joshua vs Usyk

Darren Barker is backing Anthony Joshua to use his reach, size and power to overcome Oleksandr Usyk. The pair trade off with the WBA, IBF and WBO straps on the line in front of nearly 70,000 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Joshua returns for the first time since overcoming Kubrat Pulev inside nine rounds last year while Usyk steps up to make his third heavyweight fight having defeated Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora.

While Usyk is undefeated from 18 fights - and rated as a Pound for Pound star - Barker expects Joshua to pick off the southpaw as the fight goes into the later rounds.

"Heavyweight boxing is the only weight that you can fight someone that much heavier than you.

"I know there's not a great deal when you look at the weights he's naturally far bigger than Usyk and as the fight goes on, he starts landing the jab, hits his arms his shoulders, then that will take its toll," Barker told Planet Sport.

"I think AJ gets to him late but I wouldn't be absolutely blown away for Usyk was the winner. If he is to win, you're talking about the new superstar of boxing.

"He's a good fighter AJ. There's no reason if he uses his advantages behind the jab and put in a Joseph Parker sort of performance - will that be enough?

"I'm not sure but he showed in that fight that he can have discipline and box to a plan. There's methods of victory for both fighters but I feel it will be easier for Joshua to adapt and get his game plan into play.

"AJ late around 10 rounds but when I'm saying that, it's one of those I'm so intrigued for the first bell," Barker said when asked for a prediction.

"There's so many questions I can't wait to see answered, it's going to be a great night of boxing."

Joshua and Tyson Fury are regarded as the two best heavyweights in world boxing and currently possess all four major titles between them - the first time in history the division has been owned by the UK since there being four world titles available.

There is an argument about who has the better record with Fury's top two wins being against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.

Despite the debate, Barker - the former IBF middleweight world champion - thinks Joshua edges it if he beats Usyk.

"It's a tough one. It's been spoken a lot - let me use the American word - the resume Joshua is remarkable so I guess off that basis if he beats Usyk you'd have to rank him No.1 in my opinion.

"Does it matter? Until they fight each other does it matter who is one and two?"

Read more: Johnny Nelson and Spencer Oliver analyse Oleksandr Usyk's chances

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