Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Preview Sept. 25th, 2021
Former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine will be challenging Anthony Joshua of Watford, England for his IBF, WBO and WBA (Super) Heavyweight Titles in London, England this Saturday, Sept. 25th. The 12-round bout from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium can be seen live in most nations on DAZN while fans in the UK can catch it on Sky Sports Box Office. Joshua regained his titles in December, 2019 via unanimous decision over Andy Ruiz in a rematch after Ruiz pulled off an upset by stopping him in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden six months earlier. He last fought against Kubrat Pulev in December and stopped him in the ninth round. The unbeaten Usyk last fought in October and edged Dereck Chisora by a unanimous decision.
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Joshua vs Usyk Betting Odds
- Oleksandr Usyk +240
- Anthony Joshua -300
The 31-year-old Joshua is a former 2012 Olympic gold medalist who won the IBF Title in his 16th pro bout by stopping Charles Martin in the second round in 2016. He enters the fight with a record of 24-1 with 22 big Kos. He ended his first 14 bouts and 16 of his first 18 fights within the first three rounds and owns a current knockout ratio of 88 per cent. However, he’s gone 11, 10, 12, 7, 7, 12 and 9 rounds in his last seven outings against Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin Ruiz (twice) and Pulev.
Joshua’s chin is still a major question mark and his power hasn’t been quite as evident lately. Klitschko had him down and apparently out in the sixth round in April, 2017, but Joshua came back and stopped him to win the majority of his belts. Joshua turned pro in 2013 and has 112 rounds under his belt since. He’s a good-sized heavyweight by today’s standards as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall with an 82-inch reach.
His best known opponents have been Pulev, Ruiz, Klitschko, Takam, Parker, Povetkin, Martin, Dillian Whyte, Eric Molina, Dominic Breazeale, Kevin Johnson, Matt Skelton and Michael Sprott. Joshua is arguably a bit too muscle bound, but possesses pretty good boxing skills even if he is a bit robotic. He has decent mobility and upper body movement as well as a stiff jab but usually tries to stay away from slugfests if possible while he attempts to box his opponents and use his size to advantage.
Joshua needs to try to avoid going toe-to-toe as much as possible, such as he did in the rematch with Ruiz, since he has the habit of losing his legs when getting nailed on the chin. Of course, he also has to stand his ground and fight back when tested though so this could be a bit of a dilemma for him. He’ll try using his jab and nailing Usyk on his way in with something solid whenever he sees an opening but will definitely go after him if he feels he’s hurt.
The 34-year-old Usyk unified the cruiserweight titles in July, 2018 in the final of the World Boxing Super Series when he beat Murat Gassiev by unanimous decision. He became the first man ever to hold the WBO, IBF, WBA and WBC Cruiserweight Belts at the same time. He was the WBO and WBC champ when he beat Gassiev who was the IBF and WBA champ. Usyk, who owns a perfect record of 18-0 with 13 Kos, won the WBO Title by beating Krzysztof Glowacki by unanimous decision in September, 2016 in Poland.
He defended it against Thabiso Mchunu with a ninth-round stoppage three months later and against Michael Hunter in April of 2017. He then stopped Marco Huck in 10 rounds before taking the WBC title from Mairis Briedis by majority decision in January, 2018. Usyk is a 6-foot-3-inch southpaw with a reach of 78 inches. He turned pro back in 2013 and has boxed 144 rounds since then. Usyk also has fine power as his current knockout ratio stands at 72.2 per cent, but he’s been taken the distance in five of his past nine outings.
The only men to last the distance with him have been Chisora, Gassiev, Hunter, Glowacki and Briedis and he also has victories over some relative unknowns over in Europe. Usyk enjoyed an excellent amateur career as he competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China and then won the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 2012 Games in London. He also won bronze and gold at World Amateur Championship tournaments in 2009 and 2011 respectively.
Joshua’s knockout loss to Ruiz wasn’t really a surprise since his chin has always been a bit of a question mark but he’s now fine tuned his other boxing skills because of it. He employed a successful hit-and-run plan against Ruiz in the rematch and will likely try the same on Saturday night. Usyk will be fighting as a heavyweight for just the third time and he’s had mixed results up to now. He often doesn’t live up to his reputation as a premier boxer but is big and skilled enough and has the power to beat Joshua. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to pull it off though as he’ll need to perform much better than he did against Chisora. Fans shouldn’t be surprised by any outcome but Joshua should have a slight edge due to being a natural heavyweight and possessing a bit more power.
This is a tossup but Joshua has a slight edge.
Play: Joshua -300 @ BetOnline.ag
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