Why Anthony Joshua should not underestimate Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua will face a formidable opponent in Oleksandr Usyk when a massive fight takes place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on 25 June. While Joshua will be getting all of the press attention, his Ukrainian opponent will be more than ready to stage a major sporting upset.

A quick look at the odds found in this Unibet sport review suggests that Joshua is the clear favourite to win at odds of 1.40 compared to 3.00 for an Usyk victory. This is down to the fact that Joshua is a modern day legend of the boxing world. The heavyweight champion has the WBO, IBF and WBA unified belts and form to suggest that he should make light work of the Ukrainian boxer. However, there’s every indication that Usyk could have what it takes to cause Joshua a few problems.

A bigger and bolder Uysk

Much has been made of the fact that Uysk has bulked up considerably to take on Joshua. While some have insisted that the Ukrainian fighter will never be a fully-fledged heavyweight, there is no denying that he looks like a much more formidable opponent. A recent video has surfaced of Usyk doing a recent weighing in at an impressive 16st 4lb. The 34-year old came off the back of a bruising 12-round victory over Derek Chisora and it is triumphs like this that should send a big warning to Joshua.

What’s remarkable is that Uysk is still relatively new to heavyweight boxing, He only made his divisional debut a couple of years ago when he beat Chazz Witherspoon. Already Uysk has shown that he has the boxing skill necessary to succeed despite heavyweight not being his ‘natural’ weight division.

The victory over Chisora shows that Uysk’s victory over Witherspoon wasn’t a one-off and it’s little surprise to find that the Ukrainian star is currently ranked the fourth-best pound-for-pound boxer in the world. This is because he has shown an impressive amount of technical qualities and his footwork is something not seen in the average heavyweight boxer.

Joshua looking to take boxing to the next level

While Uysk will be a formidable opponent, many people think that the Ukrainian fighter lacks the power necessary to go the distance with a fighter of Joshua’s stature. Even if Uysk makes it to the closing rounds, this is precisely the point where Joshua would be expected to claim the victory.

Interestingly Joshua has brought in Shokran Parwani to be his sparring partner. The German fighter has already had plenty of experience in taking on Uysk. While Parwani suggests that Uysk is an intelligent boxer, he also said that the Ukrainian fighter, ‘isn’t a puncher.’

Such information will again give Joshua the upper hand alongside the fact that Uysk is still a stone lighter than the heavyweight champion. Joshua weighed in at 17st 2lb for his fight against Kubrat Pulev back in December 2019 and he will be desperate to make up for lost time since then.

Of course the bout between Joshua and Uysk is only taking place as a result of the collapse of the fight against Tyson Fury. The result of this was that the WBO effectively forced Joshua to take on Uysk before being given a chance to take his long overdue shot at Fury. Similarly, Fury will now have to face Deontay Wilder. While these fights might seem like a sideshow to the main event of Joshua versus Fury, all boxing fans will be expecting the likes of Uysk to provide plenty of fireworks in London this September.

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