Joshua v Usyk odds: Power could trouble challenger
Joshua v Usyk odds and preview
Anthony Joshua defends his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night in a battle of two London 2012 gold medallists.
Boxing fans had been hoping for an all-British showdown against Tyson Fury in August but the bout in Saudi Arabia was scuppered when a United States arbitrator ordered the WBC champion to take on Deontay Wilder again.
The 31-year-old from Watford is 2/5 in the Joshua v Usyk odds to win the bout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which hosts a boxing event for the first time.
Heavy going for challenger?
Joshua could be at least a stone heavier than the 34-year-old Ukrainian despite the suspicion the defending champion is looking leaner.
The Brit weighed just over 240lbs for his win over Kubrat Pulev last December while Usyk was more than 20lbs lighter two months earlier in outpointing Derek Chisora.
With a weight, height and reach advantage for Saturday’s bout it certainly seems to be advantage Joshua but his opponent should not be dismissed lightly.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) September 18, 2021
Usyk, 2/1 to win on Saturday, is technically the best boxer Joshua has ever faced and his southpaw stance is a cause for concern.
Renowned for his nimble footwork, exemplary hand speed and head movement, Usyk collected all four major world belts at cruiserweight and has won all 18 of his professional contests, 13 of which have finished inside the distance.
Having had just two fights in boxing’s blue riband division since stepping up from 200lbs, there remains lingering questions about the Ukrainian’s punch resistance and his ability to trouble the top heavyweights with his power.
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His faultless footwork left Tony Bellew “mentally exhausted” when they fought almost three years ago in Usyk’s last bout at cruiserweight, but he was underwhelming in his two heavyweight fights, stopping Chazz Witherspoon and eking out a points win over Chisora.
With concerns about the chin and power of the WBO mandatory challenger, Usyk’s best route to victory seems to be using his speed to avoid Joshua’s heavy punches and hope for a points win which can be backed at 4/1.
Joshua has struggled against smaller opponents in the past, most notably when he suffered the only defeat of his professional career courtesy of the blurring hand speed of Andy Ruiz Jr.
Strategic warfare 🩸 pic.twitter.com/z6gPZ4oim7
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) September 14, 2021
The champion used a ramrod jab to good effect to beat the American in the return, but could revert to his punching power to subdue his opponent in north London.
The favourite is 14/5 to win by decision and evens by knockout to set up a potential clash with WBC champion Fury, who must overcome Wilder first.
In the round group betting, we go 4/1 for the Brit to win between rounds seven and nine or 9/2 between four and six in the Joshua v Usyk odds.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication