It may not be the undisputed title fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury that everyone has been salivating over, but it’s one of the best possible fights in the heavyweight division.
Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will look to hold up his end of the bargain by defending his WBA (Super), IBF and WBO heavyweight titles against former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England.
It appeared that Joshua and Fury were heading toward a blockbuster showdown this year until Deontay Wilder won his arbitration hearing to get a third fight with Fury. That threw a monkey wrench into the plans to finally decide who the best heavyweight in the world would be. Instead of waiting, Joshua opted to take a dangerous fight against WBO’s top contender, Usyk.
MORE: How to watch Joshua vs. Usyk
After a successful campaign at cruiserweight where he became the first undisputed cruiserweight champion in the four-belt era, Usyk (18-0, 13 KOs) made the leap to the heavyweight division. And it only took wins over Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora for Usyk to secure his place as the #1 contender for Joshua’s WBO heavyweight championship.
Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) bounced back from his stunning knockout loss to Ruiz and got his revenge with a unanimous decision in December 2019 before going back to finishing things inside the distance with his stoppage of Pulev. Can he remain champion and line up a fight with WBC champion Fury or will Usyk ruin the plans?
MORE: Why Fury vs. Joshua would be boxing’s dream come true
Leak Herald provides the current odds and offers some insight on how to bet on Joshua-Usyk
Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk odds
- Anthony Joshua: -310
- Oleksandr Usyk: +225
- Draw: +2300
According to odds from FanDuel , Joshua is the favorite at -310, which means it will take a wager of $310 to see a profit of $100. Usyk currently sits as a +225 underdog, so $100 wager on the former cruiserweight champion would net $225.
Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk prop bets
- Joshua by (T)KO: +115
- Joshua by decision: +230
- Usyk by (T)KO: +750
- Usyk by decision: +370
Anthony Joshua vs. Oleksandr Usyk prediction
Anybody who thinks this is a massive step down for Joshua doesn’t watch enough boxing. Aside from being one of only a handful of undisputed champions, Usyk is also an Olympic gold medalist with pristine boxing ability. This will be Usyk’s third fight at heavyweight after running through the cruiserweight division and the champion is, by far, his toughest test to date.
It’s rare that you get a fight between world champions and Olympic gold medalists so this is quite the challenge for both fighters.
The odds are a little wider than one would expect, especially considering that Joshua lost to Andy Ruiz, who was shorter and lacked the reach of Usyk. Sure, Usyk is moving up a weight class and will face a heavy-handed champion with a three-inch height and five-inch reach advantage, but Usyk’s boxing ability should have led to closer odds.
But the issue is that Usyk’s two fights as a heavyweight yielded underwhelming results. He dominated a shopworn Chazz Witherspoon in his 2019 heavyweight debut and looked slightly less than stellar against Derek Chisora last October. And although Usyk is taller with a longer reach than Ruiz, he lacks the power to give Joshua any considerable trouble.
And that’s going to be the biggest factor when these two square off. Can Usyk withstand the power of Joshua, who has an impressive knockout-to-win percentage of 92%, find a way to turn this into a true technical fight and do enough to earn the victory?
Joshua has proven that he has the resources to win a boxing match when necessary, as he proved in the rematch with Ruiz where he kept him on the end of his jab throughout the night. And the power certainly hasn’t left and he showcased it with his brutal ninth-round knockout of Kubrat Pulev in December. It takes a lot of work to get inside on Joshua and the unified champion is aware of what needs to be done in order to secure the victory.
Usyk is an incredible fighter but the size disparity and lack of experience as a heavyweight will likely be too much to overcome for the Ukranian.
What will be competitive early will eventually find Joshua landing his booming right hand to put Usyk in serious trouble before finishing the job late.
Leak Herald prediction: Anthony Joshua by (T)KO (+115)