Oleksandr Usyk vs. Anthony Joshua: Fight Odds, Live Stream, Predictions

Nate Loop@@Nate_LoopFeatured Columnist IVAugust 19, 2022

AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

Four of the five world heavyweight titles are on the line Saturday when Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) meet in their highly anticipated rematch from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Usyk, 35, has proved himself to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport after making the jump from cruiserweight, where he was an undisputed champion, to the heavyweight ranks. He's 3-0 in boxing's top division, with the unanimous-decision win over Joshua in September earning him the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world titles.

Joshua, 32, is looking to bounce back from a major defeat for the second time in his career. He lost his bounty of heavyweight titles in a historic upset loss to Andy Ruiz in June 2019, but he managed to win the rematch six months later in Saudi Arabia. Joshua was again a heavy favorite against Usyk, but the match saw the knockout artist struggle with the Ukrainian southpaw's speed and superior technique.

If Joshua is to make history and become the fifth three-time heavyweight world champion, he'll need to find a way to make sure his arsenal of power shots get through Usyk's defenses.

Usyk vs. Joshua 2 Fight Info

When: Saturday, Aug. 20, at 12 p.m. ET (main card), 5:30 p.m. ET (main event)

Where: Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

TV: Sky Sports Box Office (UK pay-per-view)

Live stream: DAZN

Odds: Usyk -205 (bet $205 to win $100), Joshua + 160 (bet $100 to win $160)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Preview, Predictions

There wasn't much to like for Joshua in his first meeting with Usyk. The Englishman struggled to deal with Usyk's speed and pressure from the get-go, and by the end of the third round, he had taken a couple of shots that left him on unsteady legs. He did have some success in the middle rounds by going to the body, but Usyk regained control in the later rounds, confounding Joshua with his feints and attacks from the southpaw stance.

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

What a finale! 💥<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JoshuaUsyk?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#JoshuaUsyk</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZMFNunGO7B">pic.twitter.com/ZMFNunGO7B</a>

To his credit, Joshua seems well aware he needs an overhaul if he wants to exact revenge on his opponent. He left trainer Rob McCracken and is now under the guidance of former BBWA Trainer of the Year Robert Garcia. He's also admitted he struggles with southpaws.

"I need adjustments to deal with a southpaw because to me these lefties are a nightmare. I swear that if Oleksandr wasn't a lefty I would have smoked him. One hundred per cent," said Joshua, per the Daily Mail's Jeff Powell.

Joshua will have to hope he's figured things out in training camp, as Usyk's stance isn't going to change, although the comment may have inspired this shadowboxing session from Thursday.

Michael Benson @MichaelBensonn

Oleksandr Usyk shadowboxing in an orthodox stance at the public workout after Anthony Joshua said he would've "smoked" him if he wasn't a southpaw…<br><br>[📽️ <a href="https://twitter.com/usykaa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Usykaa</a>] <a href="https://t.co/DCCbRiSi9G">pic.twitter.com/DCCbRiSi9G</a>

While Joshua is hoping a new trainer and fight plan can help him become a champion again, Usyk is building upon the skills and talents that have seen him win all 19 of his professional bouts.

According to George Glinski of the Express, Usyk is adding muscle and working on his conditioning with three-a-day training sessions and five-hour swims. Extra weight and superb conditioning can perhaps help Usyk get to Joshua's suspect chin earlier and keep him from suffering the mid-round lull that nearly allowed the then-champion back into the fight.

There's more to this fight for Usyk than proving yet again he's a worthy champion. Earlier this year, Usyk was part of local defense forces protecting his native Ukraine from Russia's invasion. Usyk says he's not only fighting for himself but his country as well.

“At one point,” Usyk said, per Steve Douglas of the Associated Press. “I went to the hospital where soldiers were wounded and getting rehabilitation, and they asked me to go, to fight (Joshua), to fight for the country."

“They said if you go there, you’re going to help our country even more instead of fighting inside Ukraine.”

If that weren't motivation enough, the winner of this bout may just have a shot at further glory in the form of a unification bout with Tyson Fury, the WBC and lineal world heavyweight champion. The 34-year-old Fury recently announced his retirement, but promoter Bob Arum believes he would be "up for the challenge" if a fight can get made with either Usyk or Joshua, per Sky Sports.

So who will come up big in Saudi Arabia and earn a potentially historic meeting with Fury? Bleacher Report's Lyle Fitzsimmons believes Joshua can get a decision win, noting "it'll take a near-perfect effort from the Englishman to accomplish it, given the last result, but we'll stay on board until fooled twice."

Fury, on the other hand, believes the current champion can handle a more aggressive approach from Joshua, saying "Robert Garcia trying to train him to be on the front foot or whatever and be aggressive will only enable Usyk to land more often," per the Manchester Evening News' Charlie Wilson.

Ring Magazine polled 21 boxing insiders and experts; 18 are backing Usyk, while two think Joshua will win as a slight underdog and one felt it will go to a draw. Of those picking Usyk, only four predicted him to win by stoppage, as many are expecting a close contest.

No matter the outcome, the winner will be in position to demand a fight with Fury or earn a lucrative payday against a title challenger.

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