With top British heavyweights gearing up for Oleksandr Usyk, it might come as a surprise that the man often called out to spar is a 3-0 Irishman.
Thomas Carty has been called to camp with Anthony Joshua, the former heavyweight champion, who faces Usyk live Sky Sports box office on August 20, and Dereck Chisora.
“I described myself as the Poundland version of Usyk,” he laughed.
But Carty is a left-handed heavyweight who wanted to box like Usyk early on in his own amateur career.
“I learned how to hit properly and I’ve always had really solid fundamentals,” Carty said Sky Sports.
“I was also mobile for a big guy and on top of that as I got older I got a little bit stronger and because I was hitting right I have a bit of pop in the shots now.
“I suppose I’ve developed a kind of sophisticated, powerful hitting style that’s very interesting to watch, including the southpaw, so then when you throw them the shots are pretty noticeable.”
However, he understands what makes Usyk such a formidable fighter.
“What makes him effective and good is his mobility. His feet are really, really good. His fundamentals are, I would say, up there with some of the best fundamental boxing skills of all time, in my opinion,” Carty said.
“Then you have the element of being left-handed and things aren’t the way they normally are. If there are a hundred people in the boxing gym, less than five percent will be left-handed.
“I think it’s something that doesn’t get seen a lot at the elite heavyweight level,” he added. “Of course you can single out examples, but there are only a few.
“I remember seeing him against [Tony] Bellew and he were throwing jab left hooks, the next week in sparring I’m throwing jab left hooks and there are guys who are going to be sleeping in the ring. It works out. It’s proven.
“If I can imitate Usyk even one percent, I will do well.”
It’s something Carty has been trying to do for a long time, even when Usyk was still an amateur.
“I used to pick guys that I could steal some of their moves or mimic some of their moves, and Usyk was similar in size,” Carty explained. “Similar weight class, left-handed, flexible feet, nice straight shots.
“So I’m going to try to copy this guy because he’s doing well. I did not know it [back then] where he would end up, Olympic and world heavyweight champion. It’s a bit crazy because as an amateur he was a cruiserweight, 91kg, so I tried to emulate that guy a lot.”
He’d done so well that he was called to his first sparring camp with then-world champion Joshua after only having one professional bout.
“To say surreal isn’t even enough. I’ve never seen another Irish heavyweight pars Joshua, nobody really has and the fact that I was over there for a couple of weeks and they loved what I was doing at 1-0 was really great for the confidence.” said Carty.
“I was asked to do my thing and of course whatever I do to replicate Usyk, which they were happy with, nothing was forced on me to do this or that step. They just wanted me to be myself, feel good and be just as competitive and the best I could be and I did.
“It was a really enjoyable experience, and I stress surreal, because Anthony Joshua, two-time world heavyweight champion, is a guy that me and my buddies watch on TV all the time, every time he fights, then all of a sudden you will.” brought in to help him with the preparations.”
It was also a learning experience for Carty. He saw what sets the top heavyweights apart from the rest.
“Obviously they have really great facilities available but facilities aside there is no secret, there is nothing they do in the gym that is not available to you in the gym. The difference is the intensity with which they do everything,” Karty said. “It’s the intensity that makes the difference.
“They all train with great intensity. What struck me about Joshua is how much he trains, how hard he trains. So there is no secret what he did. He just trained a lot and a lot of the time and then recovers really well. Joshua really lives life.
“The gap between my position and the top isn’t that big, but it’s very difficult to make up the difference,” he added.
“So it’s doable, but you have to work at it consistently, and it’s going to happen.”
Next up tonight (August 6) Carty boxes on the undercard to Michael Conlan’s fight with Miguel Marriaga at the SSE Arena in Belfast. Then he wants to fight for the Irish heavyweight title as soon as possible.
“I definitely want to win that because if I win that I would be the first person to win it since Tyson Fury. He is the last name on the belt. I would fight for it next, but I need an opponent, I need someone to take the fight to me. I need to build a better name for myself so I can offer these guys more money and that’s the only way I can imagine it,” he said.
“Because they’re definitely not going to fight me for fun.”
Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk takes place live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday 20 August. Book Usyk vs. Joshua 2 now!
https://www.skysports.com/boxing/news/12040/12666600/oleksandr-usyk-has-some-of-the-best-fundamental-boxing-skills-ever-what-makes-the-champion-so-good Oleksandr Usyk has ‘some of the best basic boxing skills ever’ – what makes the champion so good? | box news