Joshua v Usyk Odds: Our Top Tips For The Heavyweight Title Clash
Anthony Joshua will try to avenge last year’s shock defeat to Oleksandr Usyk when they meet in Jeddah for an eagerly anticipated rematch on Saturday.
The best online betting sites for boxing made AJ the odds-on favourite to get the better of his Ukrainian rival when they locked horns in London last year.
However, the British boxer was unable to capitalise on his height and reach advantage, as he was comprehensively outpointed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Joshua is now the underdog on betting sites in this rematch against the unbeaten southpaw, and he will need to display a lot more aggression if he is to reclaim his belts.
Joshua Hoping For More Redemption On The Red Sea
The King Abdullah Sports City in Saudi Arabia has been a happy hunting ground for Joshua in the past, and he will hope for more success in the Middle East this weekend.
AJ boasted a 22-0 record and he held the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles when he faced Andy Ruiz Jr. in New York back in June 2019.
He was knocked out in the seventh round - one of the biggest upsets in boxing history - but he dominated the rematch in Jeddah later that year, reclaiming his belts courtesy of a controlled, disciplined performance.
AJ mounted one successful title defence against Kubrat Pulev, before Joshua lost to Usyk last September.
It was an uncharacteristically listless performance from the British heavyweight, who failed to impose himself upon Usyk.
He tried to outbox the Ukrainian, and he was ultimately outclassed. Joshua is three inches taller than Usyk (with an extra four inches in reach), so he will need to use his size advantage and seek to dominate his opponent if he is to prevail in this fight, which is billed as Rage on the Red Sea.
Usyk’s First Title Defence After Fighting Putin’s Army
The Cat will put his perfect 19-0 record on the line when he heads into battle in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
Usyk became the first undisputed cruiserweight champion in history when he overwhelmed Murat Gassieve in 2018. He knocked out Tony Bellew later that year, before stepping up to the heavyweight division.
Comfortable wins against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora put him in line for a title shot, and he was too good for Joshua last September.
It went to the judge’s scorecards and - despite what betting apps thought beforehand - the result was never in doubt. Usyk won the bout via a unanimous decision (117-112, 116-112 and 115-113).
Usyk then joined a territorial defence battalion in his homeland following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The battle-hardened fighter left in the spring to prepare for his first title defence.
The Bookies Favour The Champion
Joshua was the 4/11 favourite with most bookies to beat Usyk last year. Usyk was the 11/5 underdog, but he made a mockery of those odds by picking up a commanding victory.
Now the tables have turned. Usyk is the odds-on favourite, best priced at 4/7 with William Hill, whereas Joshua is a 17/10 underdog.
You can find more value by delving into the method of victory market. Usyk is priced at 15/8 with bet365 to win via a decision once again, which looks very tempting.
He proved himself to be the superior boxer in the first match, with better hand speed and quicker reactions than Joshua. His defence was also superb throughout the bout, so he is likely to pursue a similar approach this time around.
If you think he will stop AJ, UK bookmakers have 2/1 on Usyk by KO, TKO or disqualification.
Bet365 is offering 8/1 on Joshua to win on points (decision or technical decision), which suggests he will need to go for a knockout if he is to triumph. You can find 14/5 at Unibet on AJ to win by knockout, while a draw is priced at 20/1.
How Will The Fight Unfold?
Eddie Hearn, Joshua’s promoter, said his fighter has learned from the mistakes made in last year’s bout.
“You’ll see a different Anthony Joshua in this fight,” he said. “This game plan is not box and move, this plan is to go in and hurt Usyk.”
It suggests that Joshua will start on the front foot, try to rough Usyk up and take advantage of his superior size and reach.
Joshua has a new trainer in the accomplished Robert Garcia, and that should make him more physical and aggressive.
However, that approach could leave him open to rapid counterpunches from the streetwise champion.
Usyk’s southpaw style makes him awkward to fight. He is very precise, and it will be difficult for Joshua to live with his opponent’s darting attacks, intelligent exits and general movement.
Usyk may lack the power to stop Joshua, but he should be able to outpoint his opponent once again. He was too quick and too slick for AJ in the first fight, and he is likely to repeat the feat in the rematch.
However, this is heavyweight boxing, and it would only take one clean power punch from Joshua to put Usyk’s lights out.
It might, therefore, make sense to back Usyk to win on points and hedge with a smaller stake on AJ to win by knockout at 2/1.
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