Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua Preview August 20th, 2022
Former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine will be defending his IBF, WBO, IBO and WBA (Super) Heavyweight Titles against Anthony Joshua of Watford, England in Saudi Arabia this Saturday, August 20th. The 12-round bout can be seen live in most nations on DAZN pay per view while fans in the UK and Ireland can catch it on Sky Sports Box Office. Usyk took the titles from Joshua last September via a unanimous decision. Joshua had regained them in December, 2019 with a unanimous decision over Andy Ruiz in a rematch after Ruiz stopped him in the seventh round six months earlier.
Usyk vs Joshua Betting Odds
- Anthony Joshua +175
- Oleksandr Usyk -210
The 35-year-old Usyk is a 6-foot-3-inch southpaw with a reach of 78 inches who turned pro back in 2013 and has boxed 156 rounds since. He 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 19-0 with 13 Kos, had also won the WBO Title by beating Krzysztof Glowacki by unanimous decision in September, 2016. He defended it against Thabiso Mchunu with a ninth-round stoppage three months later and against Michael Hunter in April, 2017. He then stopped Marco Huck in 10 rounds before taking the WBC title from Mairis Briedis by majority decision in January, 2018. Since then of course, he’s laid claim to several heavyweight belts with his win over Joshua.
Usyk has better-than-average power as his current knockout ratio stands at 68.4 per cent, but he’s been taken the distance in six of his 10 nine outings. The only men to last the distance with him have been Joshua, Dereck 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.
The 32-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 24-2 with 22 big Kos. He ended his first 14 bouts and 16 of his first 18 within the first three rounds and owns a current knockout ratio of 84.6 per cent. However, he’s gone 11, 10, 12, 7, 7, 12, 9 and 12 rounds in his last eight outings against Wladimir Klitschko, Carlos Takam, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin Andy Ruiz (twice), Kubrat Pulev and Usyk.
Joshua’s chin is still a bit of a 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 the heavyweight belts. Joshua turned pro in 2013 and has 124 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 Usyk, 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 tries to avoid going toe-to-toe as much as possible these days, 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 has proven to 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.
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 their rematch but he may need to be more aggressive on Saturday night and try for a stoppage since Usyk has an awkward but very effective style. Joshua, who’s aiming to become a three-time heavyweight champ, brought in Robert Garcia as trainer for this rematch with help from Angel Fernandez after splitting with Robert McCracken, so we’ll see what strategy they come up with. Usyk doesn’t always live up to his reputation as a premier boxer but is big and skilled enough and has the power to beat Joshua once again. He may also be more motivated this time around due to the current situation between Ukraine and Russia as he hopes to keep his homeland in the news for positive reasons. Don’t be surprised by any outcome but Usyk should make it two in a row over Joshua.
This is a close fight but Usyk has a slight edge.
Play: Usyk -210 @ BetOnline.ag
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