Anthony Joshua is out to get his belts back in a heavyweight duel with Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia this weekend.
It’s almost year since AJ dropped the gold to the Ukrainian but will he have enough to overturn the last result and win the rematch? Our trader isn’t so sure…
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Going into the fight last year Anthony Joshua was the heavy favourite. Oleksandr Usyk was coming in off the back of a victory over Derek Chisora where he didn’t look particularly great and because he couldn’t stop him there were doubts about his power and the ability to translate from cruiserweight up to heavyweight.
But as we saw in the fight he caught Joshua off-guard and was so good in a deserved win.
The early money this week has been on Usyk, but come ring walk time, we expect a lot more bets to be placed on Joshua.
This is the second time AJ’s coming into a rematch as the beaten man and in the first of those against Andy Ruiz Jr he fought the perfect gameplan. However I don’t think the same tactics will work this time. He won’t be able to stand back from Usyk and pick him off. The Ukrainian’s boxing will be better.
If Joshua is to win, he’ll need to use his size and try to bully and rough up his opponent looking for an early to mid-fight finish. The later the fight goes that will suit Usyk and if he takes a couple of early rounds that will leave AJ a little desperate and open to be caught.
Of course this fight was meant to be earlier on in the year and got delayed, but Usyk looks to be properly prepared now. He looks in great shape and in peak condition. Joshua has been a heavyweight champion for a reason, and I can see why he’s so keen for this rematch. But I just think Usyk will have his number here.
He’ll need a different gameplan, and to use his power and strength, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough. I think it will go much the same as last year, with Usyk taking a decision victory.
I don’t think Usyk has the power to put Joshua on the canvas – and I don’t think AJ will be able to do it either. Usyk’s defence should be too good and I don’t think he can get Joshua down unless he leaves himself open towards the end.
As for what happens next, I think Tyson Fury will come out of retirement and face the winner. Joshua v Fury would be the real money driver.
Even if he loses Joshua could still end up fighting Fury next year but I think Usyk v Fury is the more likely next bout. Someone like Dillian Whyte could be next for AJ. He’ll need to get a couple of wins under his belt to boost confidence.
VERDICT: I think the points is the safe bet here. There’s money coming in for knockouts, but for me it’s the decision that’s most likely. Usyk knows what it takes to go the distance having done it with Chisora and Joshua. He’ll know what to do over the 12 rounds.
Oleksandr Usyk to win on points
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
- 19/1 punt among our 3 AJ v Usyk WOPs
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