Boxing Tips: Usyk v Joshua 2 best bets + the best of the rest from the undercard

Our tipster Matt Gipon limbers up for another heavyweight Saturday of pure pugilism.

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*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

You know it’s a massive fight when your mate who’s a casual Man Utd fan is asking where you’re watching it – this Saturday it’s Oleksandr Usyk versus Anthony Joshua 2! Paddy has put on a plethora of markets for the huge heavyweight championship rematch, and we’ve picked out the juiciest bets on the main event and the undercard action.

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Saturday 11pm: Oleksandr Usyk v Anthony Joshua

TV: Sky Sports Box Office

A bad loss this weekend could be the end of the road for Joshua, while Usyk is fighting for the entire country of Ukraine – a rematch for three major heavyweight titles is always going to be massive, but the fight this weekend in Saudi Arabia goes beyond monumental.

Back in September last year, AJ decided he was going to try to outbox someone many consider to be the best pure boxer in the game. The two 2012 Olympic gold medalists bounced on their toes like back in their amateur days and there was no holding, no dirty tricks, and no chance Joshua could nick a decision against the masterful Usyk.

But times have changed inside and outside of the boxing gym. AJ has moved on from long term trainer Rob McCracken and settled on acclaimed American Robert Garcia known for producing clever pressure fighters, and Usyk looks like he’s upgraded his gym subscription and has been pumping some extra heavy weights.

Paddy makes Usyk a decent favourite, and a victory on points for the champ has the shortest price of all Method of Victory options. Big Josh is an underdog for the first time in a career that includes a stretch of 11 straight world title fights.

WHEN WILL THE FIGHT END? ROUNDS 7-9

The accepted narrative from the first fight is that the Ukrainian schooled AJ, but up until round 9 the contest was close, and it was only a grandstand final 30 seconds where Joshua was ever in trouble. The great Brit has completely changed tack before, and I think he will on Saturday too – it won’t be bombs away, but Joshua will be rough and aggressive on the inside.

Usyk is a rightful favourite but AJ has a real chance – Usyk must have been distracted by what’s happening in his homeland, he’s 35 now, and I think that being bulkier will hurt his speed and endurance. The thing is, a front-foot, aggressive AJ always gasses by the middle rounds.

There’s no doubt Usyk will be fired up, and Joshua won’t want to be outmaneuvered again, so I can’t see this going the distance. In the last four years AJ has KO’d two opponents and he’s been stopped once, all in rounds 7-9, while Usyk’s last two stoppage wins came in rounds 7 and 8 – I think the fight will end in rounds 7-9 but with this bet I don’t need to pick a winner!

BOTH FIGHTERS TO BE KNOCKED DOWN & USYK TO WIN

Every time Josh has boxed aggressively he’s knocked his opponent down, and in his fights with Andy Ruiz and Wladimir Klitschko he was toppled as well. Both fighters hitting the canvas is a serious possibility this Saturday, and if they do Usyk would be more likely to recover. #WhatOddsPaddy is full of weird and wonderful options, but Both fighters to be knocked down and Usyk to Win is a great bet.

9pm: Callum Smith v Mathieu Bauderlique

Former super middleweight champ Callum Smith has moved on from his loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and moved up in weight, and now he’s one win away from a title shot at 175 pounds. Mathieu Bauderlique will be in the opposite corner on Saturday, and the French Olympic bronze medalist is not only coming to win, he’ll want to dominate.

Bauderlique has bullied all his professional opponents, except one – Romanian club fighter Dragan Lepei exposed the Frenchman’s lack of head movement and starched the favourite in one round back in 2017.

Smith has a history of early KOs and last year he showed his power carried up to light heavyweight when he hit Lenin Castillo so hard he looked like he’d been tasered. Expect a small amount of feeling-out before the shots start getting fired – I’m backing Smith to win in rounds 1-4.

8pm: Filip Hrgovic v Zhilei Zhang

Filip Hrgovic could be the man to take over from Usyk, Joshua and Tyson Fury, but this weekend the Croatian heavyweight has to get past China’s Zhilei Zhang. Zhang lost to Joshua at the 2012 Olympics and he’s unbeaten as a pro, but the old man has waited too long to step up to this level. He’s too slow and he’ll run out of steam – Hrgovic to win in rounds 5-8.

6pm: Ben Whittaker v Petar Nosic

Ben Whittaker might be the future of boxing, let alone the heavyweight division, but this weekend the prospect makes just his second appearance as a pro since winning silver at the Tokyo games (6pm). The Brit faces Petar Nosic, a man he stopped as an amateur, and a man he’ll stop on Saturday – Whittaker to win in rounds 3-4.

Boxing Tips

11pm: Oleksandr Usyk v Anthony Joshua
When will the fight end? Rounds 7-9
Both fighters to be knocked down and Usyk to Win

9pm: Callum Smith v Mathieu Bauderlique
Smith to win in rounds 1-4

8pm: Filip Hrgovic v Zhilei Zhang
Hrgovic to win in rounds 5-8

6pm: Ben Whittaker v Petar Nosic
Whittaker to win in rounds 3-4

*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

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