Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk – the tale of the tape
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The wait is almost over as Anthony Joshua will step into the ring to defend his titles against Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk tonight. Should AJ emerge victorious at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, he will move closer to a potential blockbuster fight with Tyson Fury, especially if he defeats Deontay Wilder next month.
This evening will mark AJ’s fight since 2019 in front of what is expected to be the biggest boxing crowd in the UK since AJ fought at Wembley Stadium in 2018.
The 31-year-old has weighed in significantly heavier than Usyk, who is gifted with great speed and technique and will prove to be a difficult matchup for the Briton.
Those in the boxing world have had their say on who they think will come out on top.
WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury
“I’d much prefer to beat Joshua up, it’s a bigger fight and people want to see it more. He’s got a tough fight, you know?,” Fury said.
“Usyk is no mug. People say to me, ‘He’s too small’ and this and that but the guy is bigger than Muhammad Ali, he’s bigger than Mike Tyson and he’s bigger than Holyfield. He’s definitely a good fighter. If he [Usyk] does [win] then he will cost us a few quid.”
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Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn
“I quite fancy an early one – it’d be nice. I don’t want to be biting my fingernails, sitting there scoring it with my old man for four or five rounds.
“Let’s just have a nice early one. Little shot, Charles Martin style, sit back, right hand to the southpaw down the pipe.”
Heavyweight Dillian Whyte
“It’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter.”
He added: “Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Former European heavyweight champion Derek Chisora
“One thing AJ has that Usyk doesn’t is the knockout punch. It might take six rounds, seven rounds, but I can guarantee you Usyk will get laid out. AJ will get to him.”
Former super-middleweight world champion George Groves
“If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: ‘You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early. In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
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