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For all the interest in celebrity fights and the continued discussion of boxing’s demise, we are about to enter an incredible stretch of bouts featuring the sport’s biggest stars. Boxing is alive and well, and the star power should shine bright through the end of 2021.
One of those stars, Anthony Joshua, is not getting the fight he wanted. Let’s be honest here. Joshua seemed destined to fight Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia this summer, although those plans were altered when an arbitrator ruled that Fury must fight Deontay Wilder once again instead.
That original match could await, although Joshua must first defend his WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles on September 25 in London, England, against Oleksandr Usyk in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It will mark the first time the venue has ever hosted a boxing card.
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It should be an absolutely delightful scene.
The connection between the two fighters stretches back nearly a decade. Both won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics in London. Joshua won his in the super-heavyweight division, while Usyk won his at heavyweight.
This fight comes with tremendous stakes. For Usyk, it’s a chance to assert himself into an already crowded scene. For Joshua, who is plenty familiar with this scene, this is the gateway for even more.
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Fight Odds
- Moneyline: Anthony Joshua (-265) vs Oleksandr Usyk (+210)
- Total Rounds: Over 9.5 Rounds (-120), Under 9.5 Rounds (+100)
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Fight Analysis
Joshua enters the fight with a record of 24-1, with 22 knockouts.
The one loss — an unforgettable defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 as the massive chalk favorite — is one of the most memorable boxing moments in recent memory. Joshua beat Ruiz in a rematch, however, and has only fought once since.
Usyk (18-0, 13 KO) will fight at heavyweight for the third time after unifying all four world belts at cruiserweight.
His most recent fight against Derek Chisora wasn’t exactly a lopsided bout, although he kept his perfect record intact. Whether the lackluster showing was a product of the opponent, the change in weight or simply a “meh" night itself will likely be determined soon.
Usyk is a technical southpaw, which is a noteworthy from a stylistic standpoint. It could present an issue. But the biggest factor in my eyes isn’t style or technique but rather size and power. While the two are now in the same class, history says the difference could still loom large.
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk Fight Prediction
I like Joshua. While the odds say that Usyk should stay competitive for a while, I think Joshua is still one of the greatest fighters on the planet. And while some might question motivation and his mindset considering this is not the fight he was expecting, this is an enormous opportunity.
If he wants more, he needs to be ready. He will be.
Anthony Joshua to defeat Oleksandr Usyk (-265) at DraftKings
This is actually pretty decent value for a fighter of this caliber. While the oddsmakers clearly respect Usyk (and so should everyone), getting Joshua at this number is too good to pass up. I think his time in the division coupled with his power will wear down Usyk as the fight progresses.
Again, play the letdown angle if you dare. I won’t.
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk To Last Over 8.5 Rounds (-150) at DraftKings
Joshua will likely be cautious to start, and facing a southpaw could slow things down in the early rounds. While both of these guys have finishing power, I don’t envision the fireworks coming right away. It’ll take at least a few rounds to settle in.
Anthony Joshua to Win In Round 11 (+2000) at DraftKings
I like the value here. As the fight progresses, Joshua’s comfort should become evident. Both will likely take more chances. As time winds down, look for Joshua to find his opening, the extra weight to become a factor, and for the fight to end just before it goes the distance.