We’re just days away from one of the biggest boxing fights of the year as Anthony Joshua prepares to battle Oleksandr Usyk.
The pair will meet on Saturday night at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in a de-facto “semi-final” ahead of Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder 3 next month. Alas, there are still some pretty high stakes attached to this bout with Joshua defending his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles against the unbeaten Ukrainian.
Both former Olympic gold medalists will be on the hunt for another landmark career moment and when the dust settles in the early hours of Sunday morning, these are the five events we expect to have taken place.
A big AJ entrance
Whether it be a flamethrower, an over the top lighting display or a great walkout song, we can expect Anthony Joshua to make quite the entrance in North London. Thousands upon thousands of fans are going to be in attendance to see one of the biggest draws in British boxing’s recent history – and you think he isn’t going to put on a show for them?
At least 10 rounds
This one is going to be pretty technical and if the last few bouts these two men have been in tell us anything, it’s that a quick finish isn’t particularly likely. AJ may go searching for it in the hope he can make a real statement to the rest of the division but given what went down against Andy Ruiz in their first meeting, it makes far more sense to be cautious against a guy as talented as Usyk.
Usyk exceeds expectations
Anyone who has watched boxing for longer than five minutes knows how good Oleksandr Usyk is. From his diverse shot selection to his speed and beyond, he’s often been touted as the higher weight classes’ answer to Lomachenko. The big issue for many is that he doesn’t necessarily have “heavyweight power” which is why we can see him exceeding the expectations of many in this contest.
The grit, determination and experience of Anthony Joshua should just about be enough to see him over the finish line here, especially when you consider the financial reward that awaits if he can get the job done. It’ll either come late in the fight or on the judges’ scorecards but either way, we find it hard to picture a scenario in which Usyk overachieves to the point of actually getting his hand raised.
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury would’ve fought each other three times by the end of 2021 whereas Anthony Joshua has yet to fight either man in his pro career. Sure, he could go on beating B+ guys twice a year until he retires, but is that really the legacy he wants to leave behind?
Joshua needs to call out these guys and even if Usyk pulls off the upset, he should do the same – because we all want to see a unified heavyweight king.
Featured image credit: Getty