It's official: WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will put his unified titles on the line against the Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday 25th September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
After his unscheduled fight against Tyson Fury was put on the back burner following the Gypsy King’s illness led to his third bout against Deontay Wilder being delayed until October, Joshua has clearly decided he can wait no longer to get back in the ring.
In a typically cool video released to his social media followers, “AJ” filmed himself on top of Tottenham’s stadium with a safety harness attached, bellowing “Let’s get it on” to the North London football club’s empty seats.
There certainly won’t be many – or any if the government’s guidelines allow it – of them empty on 25th September, though, with tickets set to be on hot demand for what is set up to be an epic fight.
The 31-year-old has only fought once since reclaiming his titles from Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019, beating Kubrat Pulev after nine rounds in December 2020, so he’ll certainly need to be tested before potentially facing Fury in the fight boxing purists and casuals alike are all waiting for.
Against Usyk, he’ll almost certainly be tested. The 34-year-old was previously the undisputed Cruiserweight champion, having won all 16 of his professional fights, including against Tony Bellew in 2018.
However, Usyk took the brave decision to vacate his titles when moving to the heavyweight division in 2019, beating Chazz Witherspoon in October 2019 before winning the WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight title by unified decision against Derek Chisora last October.
“The Cat” has sharp reflexes and is light on his feet while possessing a mean southpaw punch, which could give Joshua plenty of problems to solve.
Having only fought two heavyweight fights in his entire career, though, there will certainly be question marks as to whether Usyk can handle Joshua’s immense physicality.
It remains to be seen whether we see the heavier Joshua from last year against Pulev in an attempt to overpower the Ukrainian, or if he drops to a similar weight to the 16st 13lb which saw him gain revenge over Ruiz Jr.
I suspect it will be somewhere in the middle as the man they call “The Cat”‘s speed will certainly be in his mind, but AJ would be silly not to look use his superior height and weight to his advantage.
The Englishman has been instilled as the odds-on 3/10 favourite to win the bout and retain his titles, with Usyk regarded as a 5/2 underdog. The draw is 16/1.
We’ve certainly seen Joshua at much shorter than odds than this regularly throughout his career, reflecting that this could well be one of the biggest challenges he has ever faced.
Only Joseph Parker and Ruiz Jr. have forced Joshua into winning by judges’ decision, though, so some may prefer to back AJ winning by knockout at odds of 5/6.
However, since stepping up in class against his fierce rival Dillian Whyte in 2015, only two of AJ’s 10 fights have been won prior to Round 7, so 5/2 looks a very good price for him to win between Rounds 7 and 12.
For a fun longshot, AJ winning in Round 7 is 12/1. Three of his last 10 wins have come in this round, including against Whyte, while Usyk’s win against Witherspoon also ended in this round.
Be sure to keep coming back to this page, though, as here at BettingPro we’ll be sure to update you with all of the news and betting markets available on the fight as September 25th draws ever closer…
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