We are just hours away from one of the year's biggest fights. Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (19-0) will put all three titles on the line against the former champion, Anthony Joshua (24-2). More importantly, the prestigious Ring Magazine title will be up for grabs as Tyson Fury recently vacated it.
When it comes to heavyweight boxing, it still draws not only the purists but also the casuals who love seeing these big guys go at it. Although the fight is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the walkout time for the main event will be at a decent hour to cater to both the U.K and U.S fan base. So if it's a big fight, the betting odds are usually heavily sought after, and this massive event is no different.
Per BetMGM, Oleksandr Usyk is the favorite at -175, and Anthony Joshua is the underdog at +150.
Oleksandr Usyk: Decision +220; KO/TKO +175
Anthony Joshua: Decision +700; KO/TKO +225
What does the NYF crew and friends have to say about Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua 2?
Michael Woods (Founder, NYFights): Usyk
It feels like people think AJ beating Usyk is about as unlikely as Andy Ruiz beating AJ. Do you remember that horrific tourist trek to NYC for Joshua on Dec 1, 2020? Well, it doesn't pertain at all to the Ukrainian ring général extraordinaire. Usyk's feet win him the fight Saturday. And if he decides to give his countrymen and women an extra thrill, which they darn well deserve, maybe Usyk stops the Brit.
I think Usyk is a more complete fighter, with better movement and a good chin to stand up to the power of the bigger man. Joshua will need to land a big punch, and at some point, he will, but it won't be enough. Usyk by unanimous decision.
David Phillips (Awards Daily/NYFights): Usyk by Decision
It would be nice to believe that Anthony Joshua would fulfill his potential as the most talented boxer in the heavyweight division, but I see no reason to buy into that. When Joshua beat Ruiz, he did so by being more conservative and using his greater natural ability to keep an overly well-fed Ruiz at bay. He's not going to have that benefit against Usyk, who is going to show up fit and is just as good of a boxer as Joshua and far tougher too. Joshua's best chance is to use his size and strength against Usyk. That means taking chances though. Something Joshua was loath to do against Ruiz. If that mentality holds true (and I believe it will), expect this second fight to go much the same as the first. Usyk by unanimous decision.
It’s a tale of two types of heavyweights. Joshua will have an opportunity to be that Lennox Lewis, who was that big heavyweight from the U.K. He is really going to have to step up and impose his size. Last fight, he was getting outboxed by Usyk, but this time he has to be willing to go in there and throw his weight around. Interestingly, Usyk had a strong poker face in the last fight, but he did say he got caught with a couple of good ones. Who is Joshua going to be in the early rounds? If he doesn’t want to give up those early rounds, he will have to step to him. Joshua has learned a lot on the job and the hard way. I lean slightly in favor of Joshua if he wants it. If he doesn’t, he will fade to black like so many others.
Colin Morrison (NYFights/SpitBalling Pod/Japan-Forward): Late TKO/Stoppage
It was considered an upset when Usyk won the first fight. It would be considered an upset if Joshua turned the tables this weekend. I can't see that happening. I don't even think Joshua hears the final bell on Saturday. Usyk will take this one late, a gassed Joshua being saved by the ref or his corner as Usyk once again puts on a boxing clinic.
Jacob Rodriguez (NYFights/No Standing 8 Podcast): Usyk by Decision
Before the first fight, I said that Usyk would be a problem for Anthony Joshua. I didn't commit to a prediction then because I didn't know how Joshua's significant size over Usyk would affect the Ukrainian. This time I'm all in on Usyk. He will still be a problem for Joshua. Barring that his time at war didn't affect him mentally and physically, the result should be the same as their first meeting. Oleksandr Usyk outclasses Anthony Joshua again and wins a unanimous decision.
Marquis Johns (NYFights): Usyk by Decision
Wherever it's “Clash On The Dunes” or “Rage on the Red Sea,” the latest “Jeddah for the Cheaddah” contest between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua once again has Joshua is in the position of having to recapture the unified championship and traveling to Saudi Arabia to do it. Joshua will have a new trainer Robert Garcia behind him, replacing longtime cornerman Rob McCracken. The biggest question everyone has is what will change in the twelve rounds last September. I'm not expecting much difference as this feels more like Usyk's time to reign, and Joshua is the last contracted hurdle to achieve it. I'm expecting another wide points victory for Usyk here to retain.
Gayle Falkenthal (NYFights): Usyk by late TKO
Oleksandr Usyk is the original happy warrior. Despite the devastation to his beloved Ukraine and his role in the war, he arrives in Saudi Arabia with his customary zest for life and packing more muscle on his smaller heavyweight frame. Anthony Joshua needs to be the opposite for this rematch. He needs to be pissed off about losing the first fight and angry enough to do something to change the outcome. Even though he's added trainer Robert Garcia to his team, it's not going to be enough. Joshua's best opportunity to win is to come out aggressively in the early rounds, count on Usyk to be a touch slower with the added weight, and go for broke to catch the champion. But the bigger Usyk is prepared for the assault. He'll be willing to brawl a bit and can outbox Joshua if the fight goes that direction. Usyk is fighting for an entire nation. He wants to give them a brief shining moment of worldwide pride. Usyk by late-round attrition style TKO.
Lucas Ketelle (ITRBoxing/NYFights): Usyk
Usyk should win he is just better. If Joshua wins it either shows the greatness of Robert Garcia who he hired as his coach or the power of Joshua’s political capital in the sport to get as many things as possible in his favor to set the stage for him to win.
Prediction Panel Results: 9-1 Usyk
The panel has spoken, and it looks like most are taking the unified champion Oleksandr Usyk to secure the victory. I have to agree with their assessment as I just don't see Anthony Joshua putting on the type of performance that will secure him the victory. Can he land one devasting blow and end the fight instantly? Sure he can, but it's a hard ask against Usyk, who has been dominant at every level possible. At the end of the night, this one is leaning toward Usyk having his hand raised in victory. For the Anthony Joshua fans, don't worry, his plan B is a huge WBA regular heavyweight title fight against Daniel Dubois in 2023, so be on the lookout for that.