The date of the fight between current WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua and former Ukrainian outright heavyweight champion Alexander Usyk has become known. The Joshua vs. Usyk fight will take place in Great Britain on September 25, journalist Kevin Aiol reported on his Twitter, citing sources.
Earlier it was reported that the next opponent for Anthony Joshua, who had his fight with WBC world champion Tyson Fury thwarted, could be Usyk, who is a mandatory challenger under the WBO. The British fighter has 24 wins (22 of them by knockout) and one defeat in the professional ring, the Ukrainian has 18 wins (13 of them by knockout) in 18 fights.
What happened in the heavyweight division these days?
So, as stated above, Wilder and Fury have agreed to a fight. Both have signed a contract for a third bout. It will most likely take place on July 24. The legal deal has finally derailed the unification bout in the heavyweight division between Tyson and Joshua. But while Gypsy King’s plans were clear, Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, was confused.
At first he was almost certain that his company’s top star would meet WBO belt challenger Alexander Usyk, but now things are not so certain. All of a sudden, Hearn said that instead of a contract to fight the Ukrainian, Joshua might just leave the WBO belt vacant.
“As long as negotiations go smoothly and nobody tries to be too clever, I think the fight can be negotiated automatically. I worked with Usyk’s manager Oleksandr Krasiuk in the last three fights of the Ukrainian, everything was reasonable enough. So if everything is reasonable, the fight will take place.
In any case, we will not bring the negotiations to the promoter’s bidding. We either make a deal or leave the title vacant. I don’t blame the WBO management, they gave us much time to organize the fight with Fury, even though they had a strong contender in the person of Usyk. So my hat is off to Paco Valcarcel, the president of the organization. But when the time comes, he has to do what he has to do. I’m not annoyed with the WBO at all, I’m annoyed that Joshua is actually being told who to fight. But it’s a problem of having multiple belts,” said Hearn.
It’s clear from that statement that despite all the assurances that negotiations with Usik are going smoothly, it’s not that simple. Also, the sides of the Wilder-Fury deal said that the winner of the pair could face Joshua in December, so maybe Anthony’s camp just decided to stall for time and wait for a more monetary fight. Either way, the whole thing is getting boring for Usyk.
Fight against Usyk is a big challenge for Anthony Joshua
Malik Scott, the trainer of American super-heavyweight Deontay Wilder, shared his expectations for the fight between WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO world champion Anthony Joshua and WBO title challenger Alexander Usyk.
The specialist warned “A.J.” against underestimating the Ukrainian boxer. “Usyk is a dangerous challenge for everyone, not only for Joshua. We have to commend Anthony for taking this fight. Usyk is not the guy everyone wants to fight. On the contrary, he’s the kind of boxer that people would rather not face.
Usyk has developed in fights with the most dangerous opponents. It’s a big challenge for Anthony. It will be interesting to see how Usyk reacts to Joshua’s size and technicality. And also how Anthony will react to Usyk’s speed and the fact that he’s left-handed,” Boxing Scene quotes Scott as saying.
Foreign bookmakers are already taking bets on the heavyweight title fight. Anthony Joshua is a firm favourite of all bookmakers. The biggest odds on the victory of the 31-year-old Briton is given by William Hill – 1.44. The best odds on the success of Alexander Usyk can be found in Bet365 at 3.00. Such odds are not surprising at all, as the challenger has only had two fights in this weight class, while the champion has ruled the division for a long time. Joshua has a huge advantage in size and punching power. These factors override Usyk’s superiority in the technical aspect.
Joshua vs Usyk fight prediction
The chances of Usyk are higher than on “paper”. But at the same time, it is better not to risk money by betting on Alexander. So far, the Ukrainian has not adapted to the heavyweight. It might be because of his low fighting activity, but we can’t rule out a decline in form. After all, the 34-year-old boxer spent a huge number of fights in amateurs and only then came to professional boxing.
Besides, Usyk is not a natural heavyweight. I think the big problem for Alexander will be the British jab. Joshua has a 10 centimeter advantage in the ‘riches’ and he definitely knows how to use it. Moreover, the Ukrainian’s defense is not perfect and Anthony’s punches are very destructive. If the champion doesn’t get tired, as it happened to him before, it’s unlikely that he will miss the victory.