On Saturday, we will witness a historic event at 🏟️Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as former Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion of the World 🥇🇺🇦Oleksandr Usyk (18-0-0, 13KO👊) will once again go into his opponents backyard in a hostile environment, to try to live out his boyhood dream of becoming Heavyweight Champion. Skilled fellow Olympic Gold-Medalist 🥇🇬🇧Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-1-0, 22KO👊👊) brings the WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight World Titles to the table, and is someone who has defeated everyone that he has faced thus far – of course him avenging his lone defeat against 🇺🇸Andy Ruiz Jr. in a dominant performance, and is hellbent on getting the respect he feels that he deserves.
SOME BACKGROUND REGARDING THE SIZE DISCREPENCY BETWEEN BOTH FIGHTERS
Clearly Anthony Joshua is the much bigger man by trait, as he fits todays over-massed Heavyweight division perfectly, and is one who won Super-Heavyweight 🥇Gold-Medal in 2012. In the same Olympics, Usyk won his 🥇Gold-Medal in the traditional Heavyweight division, so of course there will be a natural difference of height, weight, and punching power.
Oleksandr Usyk since completely wiping out the Cruiserweight division’s top talent in its entirety – has spent countless time preserving his body, and beefing up properly, adding on approximately ⚖️25 lbs. of muscle, and what I’ve been able to gather by observation, is that he has done so, without compromising his speed, or his stamina, which are crucial components for him regarding this particular fight.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF JOSHUA
Anthony Joshua is a dynamite puncher, and is perhaps universally regarded as the second hardest puncher in the division outside of 🥉🇺🇸Deontay Wilder. Now considering that the bulk of Wilder’s power is within the right cross solely, and every type of punch that Joshua administers having some serious pop to it, one could argue that because of the wide array in which the power can be generated from, that Joshua is more dangerous than Deontay in that capacity with the power.
He is one who does his greatest work from middle-distance, and can bounce outside effectively, utilizing space to extend his long arms to get full force on his punches. Regardless of the odd training clips he shows to the media, none of the punches he throws is wide at all, and is technically sound when it comes to his overall punch delivery system.
He has a fantastic jab – one that he forgets to use at times, but regardless, when he is on his game, the jab ranks as top-2 in the Heavyweight ranks, without hesitation. As showcased in his bout with 🥇🇺🇦Wladimir Klitschko, you’d get very little argument with him having the best uppercut in the sport.
Now, Joshua’s drawbacks – I don’t know if you can consider him having a glass chin, but I would go the next best level up and regard it as ceramic, obviously meaning that he can be very shaky in that area, and despite having the legs of a thorough-bred horse 📍(a goal that everybody wants to achieve when you’re in the weight room), he visibly gets rocked often, taking the starch away from those legs, rendered to rubber.
Confidence can somethings waver in his case, which can be concerning regarding big fights, but being that the subject is so nuanced, there’s no need to really go down the 🐰🕳️rabbit hole. Outside of these aspects, Joshua does everything else remarkably well, although he does have a problem when it comes to operating at the correct range – sometimes he is too close to the action to get maximum results off of his work.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF USYK
When it comes to Oleksandr Usyk…you could write a detailed 📖instruction manual regarding the way he approaches the boxing ring, especially as a big man. Realistically from an overall standpoint of fighters historically 190+ lbs., there are very few that can actually match Oleksandr’s boxing acumen. He fights out of the southpaw stance, which is already headache-inducing for any orthodox fighter.
He has a well educated quick jab, that he uses more for accuracy, and hiding the left cross, as opposed to using it like a stick, or shotgun jab. He has a lot of range, and is able to not only shoot the cross down the pike with great accuracy – he can loop it behind the defenders guard, without thrusting himself out of position or off-balanced, shooting it from the spot where he fired it, minimizing counter opportunities.
His footwork is similar to that of his great friend, and fellow countryman 🥇🥇🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko, who has mastered the art of timing, angles, balance, bracing his opponent with his elbows, and utilizing those tactics while reading the body language of his foes to identify what is next, something that Usyk does very well, overwhelming big men who are naturally less coordinated to handle such sporadic movement.
Usyk’s two best traits are his ability to always maintain his composure, and combination punching…..exhibiting real creativity with the latter that ranks within the top 4 of the sport. Now as for weaknesses – 📍he doesn’t really have any…..but to nitpick, sometimes he isn’t able to pick off the lead right cross from orthodox fighters the way he probably should, given his ability to recognize everything that’s coming, his movement, and his ability to elude upstairs.
Now given the circumstances of his current journey and upcoming bout, a newly rendered weakness has to be his size. It’s funny…if you were to put him in the cast of great 1970’s Heavyweights, he would be considered big…and even the 1990’s crop, he would average out with the crop, as someone whose bigger than 🇺🇸Mike Tyson, 🥉🇺🇸Evander Holyfield, and 🇺🇸Michael Moorer, which may come as a shock to some people when you put things into their full perspective.
Now, even though that is a weakness for the giants of today, what matters is how you use the skills that you have – to offset any physical deficiencies that you may have, and no one is more equipped than Oleksandr Usyk to combat against all of those aspects, which means if he plays his 🃏🃏cards right, it could become a non-issue in the big picture of his grand attempt at becoming Unified Heavyweight world champion.
THE FIGHT BREAKDOWN, MY BELIEF AS TO HOW I THINK THIS BOUT WILL PAN OUT
Going back to Anthony Joshua’s jab, that is one of the two big weapons he will need to win this fight. He will also need to get the uppercut working. Now how do I see this fight going strategically❓ I see Joshua in the first 2 rounds applying serious pressure on the front foot to try to test, and bully the smaller fighter, but Usyk will endure in the first 6 minutes.
For the rest of the fight, there will be a ↩️role reversal, with Joshua backing out, utilizing range, trying to keep Usyk at the end of his jab, and looking to split the guard with the uppercut if Olek gets too close, as Usyk will most likely fight the rest of the fight similar to how he walked down 🇬🇧Tony Bellew.
The southpaw Usyk will target the body often with the jab underneath Joshua’s left elbow, and once he establishes that, will try to bring the sweeping right hook over the top, and utilize angles for the 4-5 punch combinations up top. Joshua doesn’t seem like the greatest counterpuncher, so if he allows Usyk to get comfortable, it could possibly be a long night.
It will turn into much more of a thinking mans fight by the middle rounds, with both Usyk, and Joshua trying to prove who is the more superior craftsmen in the center of the ring. It will be a good fight, one that I presume will reach the 12th and 🛎️final bell, for a decision to be rendered.
INTERESTING OBVERSATIONS ON MEDIA RELATIONS LEADING UP TO THE BIG FIGHT
A couple of things I would like to point out regarding Joshua and Usyk’s most recent 🎙️press conference. Anthony Joshua for the first time in his career appeared to look visibly worried, seemingly aware of the level of threat that his opponent brings to the table despite the miniature frame (in comparison to his). Even comments made throughout the week indicates a level of uncertainly that is a little worrysome for the Joshua contingent. Due to that notion, he has to work early, and get Usyk’s respect from the get-go, not just to tame him, but for him to personally gain confidence as well on his pursuit.
Oleksandr Usyk on the other hand looks about as cool and composed as you can be for someone venturing into a championship fight after a recent move up in weight. Usyk dawned a suit rendering callbacks of 🤡”JOKER” the villain (display picture), and during the media session, he stated that he doesn’t want to tell people what is running through his mind. Considering his career, despite the goofy persona, nothing he says is fluff, so it’ll be interesting to see what is bubbling up under the service once the 🛎️opening bell dings.
NOW TO REVEAL MY PICK FOR THIS FIGHT
|| PREDICTION – I see Joshua hurting Usyk twice in the bout, forcing him to hold on in those instances, and a knockdown or two isn’t something that I would exactly rule out either. With that being said, I also see Olek rebounding, to use his superior boxing acumen and overall skill level, to win the most difficult fight of his life with close scoring.
I foresee a 116-112 type of fight, with the grueling aspect, in Oleksandr Usyk’s favor, with scorecards looking more like 115-113, 115-114 due to the stock associated with Joshua. All in all, I see the Ukrainian fighter Usyk making some history, and cementing himself as a true 🔱first-ballot Hall of Famer by becoming a Unified Heavyweight world champion.
( OLEKSANDR USYK WINS A DIFFICULT SD12 VICTORY, 115-113, BECOMING THE NEW UNIFIED HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION )